The Most Expensive Hotel Suite

Welcome to the ​Empathy Suite, a Sky Villa designed by and featuring the works of world-renowned artist Damien Hirst. The artist has collaborated with Bentel & Bentel Architects to design the world’s most expensive hotel room. If you are looking for some for Instagram-worthy moment and you have a spare $100.000 per night, it’s your place to stay at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Sin City has a reputation for excess, and the nearly $690 million renovation of the hotel has also filled it with a huge amount of impressive artwork, including works by Takashi Murakami, KAWS, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and, of course, Hirst.

Once you pass through the gilded doors, you’re met with a 13-foot-long tiger shark that has been trisected into three tanks of formaldehyde, lofted above bottles of top-shelf spirits – Hirst’s first bar project in the United States, featuring the fierce sculpture titled The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded).

The 836-square-meters two-story sky villa sits on top of the Palms and is the first and only of «its kind featuring a collection of contemporary art at this scale.» It’s an eclectic mix of blue-chip and street art that rarely mingles under one roof. With many original pieces from some of Hirst’s most notable series, a custom butterfly-motif mosaic tiled cantilevered pool overlooking the Las Vegas Strip and Venus gray marble featured throughout the villa, it will surely attract lots of celebrities – especially after the announcement that they’ll be holding a three-night festival for the anticipated opening of the KAOS nightclub, featuring the likes of Cardi B, Skrillex, and Travis Scott, with additional performances by Alicia Keys and Hozier at their Pearl Theater.

And if you were wondering where the name Empathy Suite derives from…. , because Hirst wants you «to feel empathy when you’re in it; empathy with all your friends wherever they are and whether you’re with them or not and to feel empathy when you’re spending the night with them in the suite and empathy with the whole world the morning after

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Palms Casino Resort

Stephen Webster: London

Stephen's London

STEPHEN WEBSTER

The famous jeweler lived in many different countries, among them Canada and the United States. Till this day, he enjoys travelling very much, but always comes back happily to his hometown: London. Below you will find his tips for the best places to visit in Great Britain’s capital.

Your favourite city in the world: 
LONDON

Your favourite restaurants: I am actually in this business as well and own three restaurants. 

HIX, 66-70 Brewer Street  City of Westminster, W1F 9UP,
+44 20 7292 3518
(Favourite dish: Webster’s fish fingers, fish & chips)
HIX BELGRAVIA, Pont Street, London SW1X 9EJ, +44 20 3189 4850
TRAMSHED, 32 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3LX, +44 20 7749 0478
It’s just opened in Shoreditch, which is the real trendy place for London. The menu primarily focuses on steak and chicken items. Greeting guests and reminding them of this fact is the spectacularly placed Cock and Bull piece from Damian Hirst created specifically for us.

Your favourite hotel: 
CLARIDGE’S, 49 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, +44 20 7629 8860.

Your favourite shop: SELFRIDGES
I especially love the food department.

Your favourite nightclub: 
THE WELLINGTON, 116A Knightsbridge  London SW1X 7PL, 
+ 44 20 7823 8211
I don’t hardly ever go to nightclubs anymore. If I do go to a nightclub, I go to the Wellington, which it’s the place where I know everybody, I know the DJ, and that’s probably what I’m looking for right now.

Your favourite art gallery: TATE MODERN, Bankside London SE1 9TG, +44 20 78878752

Your favourite park: HYDE PARK
I live right next to it and walk across it nearly every morning.

Your favourite transportation in London: THE TUBE
I use the tube, because if you don’t you’re going to get very frustrated. My motorbike, I keep at the country.

Thank you, Stephen, for sharing your insider scoop on London with us!

LoL, Sandra

O’Clock – Officine Panerai at Milan Triennale

Officine Invite

The reason for my trip to Milan this week was the opening of “O’Clock – time design, design time” with Officine Panerai as the main partner. The exhibition is curated by Silvana Annicchiarico and Jan van Rossem, with a special exhibition design by Patricia Urquiola that analyses the relationship between the concept of time and design, on display at Milan Triennale from 11th October 2011 to 8th January 2012.

The works on show describe the way in which  some 80 international designers and artists have interpreted or represented one of the fundamental themes of our culture, that of time.

Panerai1

Patricia Urquiola has also created for Officine Panerai the installation “I mondi di Officine Panerai” (The worlds of Officine Panerai), presented here for the first time, in which eight watch models recount, as protagonists, the design of Panerai. The installation, positioned at the end of the exhibition, is open from 11th to 23rd October and consists of eight models in as many display cases, in which the watches are presented in a setting that skilfully blends humour and poetry and create the effect of a time tunnel which appears to possess a soul, that of time.

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If the link between the concept of time and a brand of high-end timepieces is obvious and immediate, the same can be said of the connection between Panerai and the world of design. The Radiomir and Luminor, created in the 1930s and 1940s for the Italian Navy frogmen commandos, have become icons of fine watch-making since their launch in the 1990s.

DamienDamien Hirst, Beautiful Sunflower Panerai Painting

On the occasion of the exhibition the famous British artist Damien Hirst is premiering two works, made using the spin painting technique and using dials from Panerai watches and household gloss on canvas: Beautiful Sunflower Panerai Painting and Beautiful Fractional Sunflower Panerai Painting.

“I love Panerai”, declared the British artist. “The watches are timeless and I made this spin painting using black Panerai watch faces without hands in the pattern of the seeds in the head of a sunflower – I hope the painting makes you think, we are here for a good time, not a long time.”

Damien2Damien Hirst, Beautiful Fractional Sunflower Panerai Painting
© 2011 Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved DACS, 
Photos: by Prudence Cuming Associates

By the way, Damien Hirst has included Panerai watches on several occasions in the past in his works: a Panerai watch is painted on a table next to medicines and a skull in “Skull with Watch” from 2005 and is physically present in the installations “The Tranquility of Solitude (for George Dyer)” (2006), and “Killing Time” (2008).

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Gomitolo Clock
Carlo e Benedetta Tamborini
Diamantini & Domeniconi, 2008
courtesy Diamantini & Domeniconi

A cotton-knit cover; almost as if to suggest a subtle link between the technique of measuring time and the art of weaving.

One of my favourite art works is the following, created with different pieces of furniture:

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The bug – Time Machine
Patricia Urquiola
site-specific, 2011

Time has always been an obsession for humanity in that it is the least controllable and modifiable element. The strongest limit to be overcome and on which technology and progress can intervene least of all. Dealing with our being limited, with a deadline, which we can try to extend, but not avoid. Dealing with eternity and the impossibility of experiencing it. The curiosity of being able to foresee or read the future, the primary search of every civilization, which perpetuates itself in continuous unlikely and unfound attempts, based on foundations comparable to beliefs. Power linked to a supposed control of time, by means of forecasts, surveys, readings, premonitions, the study of cycles, the creation of systems, genetic analysis, preventative tests, séances, oracles, reading of cards, bones, animal guts, the hand, the stars. To be able to make money on the stock market, to know society’s moods, the opinions of the decision-makers, to create consensus, prevent, anticipate, control. The final solution? Invent a time machine just like the train, the car, the airplane and the spaceship were invented.
Further and further away, faster and faster, in less time, but always and only in the present and space.
The bug is a worm, an insect, something unforeseen, an error, an act of nature or something artificial, like a metaphor for the impossibilty of total control of time.

Patricia Urquiola

IMG_1352Patricia Urquiola in front of her time machine

Patricia and mePatricia Urquiola with me

trien1

Poster Plants
Oscar Diaz
2011
courtesy Oscar Diaz

A piece of white paper with a paper tree with branches and a vase filled with green paint. The special material used to make the poster causes the green paint to be absorbed at regular intervals by the branches, so that the plant can „grow“ in the space of a few months.

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Domino
Albin Karlsson
2005
courtesy Albin Karlsson

Dominoes arranged into the symbol of infinity fall one after the other in a chain reaction, to then rise again as if controlled by an invisible hand, ad infinitum.

Watch

Clock
Christiaan Postma
2008 
courtesy Christiaan Postma

At 3:00 on the clock’s right side, the word THREE will appear, fading out as time passes; then, at about 3:30, the word FOUR will slowly begin to emerge.

Eternity

Eternity
Alicia Eggert, Mike Fleming
2010
courtesy Alicia Eggert & Mike Fleming

30 clocks and 36 black hands for the hours and the minutes move so as to form the word Eternity every 12 hours and only for a few secons on a white acrylic panel.

Givenchy 1

Givenchy
Riccardo Tisci
2011
courtesy of Sandra Bauknecht

This one was a little joke…got you? But sometimes clothes are pieces of art.
My look for the exhibition opening: Black and white dress and ruffled jacket with zipper detail by Givenchy, suede pumps by Yves Saint Laurent, stay-ups “Bonny Dots” by Wolford and cocktail ring by Dior Haute Joaillerie.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but must be lived forwards” – Sören Kierkegaard

LoL, Sandra

S&meSuryia Hill to the right with me, Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Christie’s Green Auction

GreenAuction

On April 22nd, 2010 Christie`s will be honouring the 40th annual celebration of Earth Day to raise awareness and funds for our planet with their inaugural Green Auction. In case you are thinking this will only be a bash for Birkenstock-lovers, you are completely mistaken. In the 21th century, the green movement can go well together with the luxury lifestyle. The fashion industry has united with the art, philantrophy, finance and celebrity worlds to make “A Bid to Save the Earth”. The auction boasts several unique “once-in-a-lifetime” fashion-themed lots including for example a custom-made scent by Nina Ricci or jewellery by Harry Winston.
Please find below my very own favourites:

Green_Auction_David_laChapelle

The Rape of Africa”, that will be auctioned off, is the first official art piece by David LaChapelle not shot for a magazine. The famous fashion photographer got his inspiration from Botticelli`s Venus and Mars painting. In his work, Naomi Campbell is the African Venus showing many of the horrors endured by the Africans including diamond mining.
I am a big fan of LaChapelle`s work in general. What seems truly interesting to me is that he is obviously attacking his colleague Damien Hirst. Hirst`s famous diamond skull is laying at the feet of the child to the right and is definitely reduced a symbol of cruelty. The catalogue has been published by the Alex Daniels-Reflex Gallery.

Green_Auction_Vea_Wang

You can buy a lunch with Vera Wang at the famous Mercer Kitchen restaurant in NYC and get a $10.000 credit to her flagship store. Might be a good idea for bridal shoppers.

Green_Auction_Stella_mcCartney

If you get the following lot, your first fitting for “His and Hers” bespoke suits made of sustainable fabric will be by the queen of ecological chic herself: Stella McCartney.

Green_Auction_gucci

I love the “Forever Now” package including a vintage 1960`s Bamboo Bag from Gucci`s archive in Florence, and a New Bamboo bag designed and customized by Creative Director Frida Giannini exclusively for the Christie`s Green Auction, in addition to two tickets to the women`s runway show in Milan, and backstage access to meet the designer herself.

Green_Auction_Armani

Last but not least, Giorgio Armani is giving a glamorous evening outfit to accompany the “Los Angeles Oscars experience”, complete with tickets to the Vanity-Fair-After-Party.

To me, the Green movement is a wonderful idea. The silent auction starts on April 8th and goes until May 6th. Details on how to participate in the silent auction or how to donate, volunteer and act can be found at “A Bid to Save the Earth”. The live auction will be on April 22nd in New York at Christie`s Rockefeller Center.

LoL, Sandra