Lifestyle

Art Inspired

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Cities are a melting pot of art, culture and society, and there is no better way of understanding a country than delving into the art scene. From the classic art cities where art is housed in elaborate structures like London to edgy up-and-comers like Bogota filled with street art, we’ve listed eight of the very best places where art thrives and holds a deep influence on local culture.

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Paris

The city of love, art and culture. Is there a more iconic city than Paris? Perhaps the only city in the world where art, culture and cuisine are all equally as amazing, Paris truly is the world’s culture capital. With its glittering glass pyramid designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, the Louvre is as iconic as the art pieces it showcases, most notably the revered Mona Lisa. Once you’ve filled your appetite for culture at the Louvre, move onto the Fromagerie Danard, one of the highest rated restaurants in the city, which serves quintessential French cuisine, along with platters of ham and cheese and bottles of wine. After sating your appetite for French cuisine, head over to La Garde Robe, the original natural wine bar in Paris, that set the path for a thousand imitators.

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London

Cool. There is no other word that describes London and its culture so perfectly. The White Cube is not just one of the most influential galleries dedicated to contemporary art, but one of the coolest, too. Though it is now located in Bermondsey, its most famous site was in Shoreditch. Through White Cube’s success, the area was revitalised and regenerated into the uber-hip East London it is known as now. White Cube has also been one of the foundations of the Young British Artists (YBA) movement, including Tracey Emin and Sam Taylor-Johnson. After seeing perhaps the most influential gallery dedicated to contemporary art, get on the London Underground to Liverpool Street where the eponymous Duck and Waffle sits on the 40th floor of a skyscraper, then head over to any of the bars on Shoreditch High Street.

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Amsterdam

Amsterdam with its eminently walkable streets and winding canals is perfect for a city break. And with a burgeoning art and cuisine scene, it’s far more than just a party city. The Rijksmuseum is known as The Museum of The Netherlands, and it presents Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to the present day. From suits of armour to Rembrandt’s Night Watch, The Rijksmuseum is an ambitious project that succeeds in showcasing this special, and often overlooked, culture. With such a vast collection, the museum should take all day to explore, and once you’re done, just wander around the streets of the city where there are constant reminders of its 13th century origins. For dinner, head to De Silveren Spieren, a critically acclaimed restaurant housed in a beautifully elegant building.

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New York

New York has a long-standing reputation as a centre of culture and arts in America, and it is easy to see why; the city is home to hundreds of cultural institutions, one of the most famous of which is the Guggenheim Museum. Sitting on Museum Mile with other cultural heavyweights such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The National Academy Museum, The Guggenheim is unique in being spectacular inside and out. Housing a continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern and contemporary art, the Guggenheim is a treasure trove. The structure itself was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and is conceived as “temple of the spirit” that is as expressive as the art it houses inside it. Then, head to the Gotham Bar & Grill to wind down for dinner and drinks, as you revel in the City That Never Sleeps.

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Beijing

The 798 Art Zone is a thriving, buzzing hive of creativity and art, housed in a complex of 50-year old decommissioned military factory buildings. The practical nature and design of the complex gives an industrial feel that seems almost cathedral like with soaring chimneys and swooping arcs, and the space allows for dozens of studios and galleries. Being the most significant art zone in China, the 798 Art Zone has played host to both foreign artists such as Ruperto Cabrera and Martin Flynn, and home grown talent like Ai Wei Wei and Su Jinyuan. The area has enjoyed significant regrowth and gentrification as the area became fashionable, and it now plays host to many bars, cafes and restaurants.

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Bogota

The Colombian capital has long enjoyed street art, but experienced a surge since graffiti was decriminalised in 2011. Since then, over 8000 active street artists have come to call Bogota their home. With regulations, by the local government, it has become a culturally celebrated practice to beautify and give artists a voice to highlight political, social and cultural issues. Many of the city’s top graffiti artists have exhibited their work abroad, in the great Old World bastions of culture such as London and Paris. With art all around you, the best and simplest way is to simply walk around the city, enjoying the mix between expressive and absurd.

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Cape Town

One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town also plays host to a vibrant art scene, attracting many of South Africa’s brightest and best. The pinnacle of the city’s art scene is at Ellerman House, one of the most luxurious hotels in the region, which is an Edwardian style mountainside retreat that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Ellerman House hosts its own art gallery with works spanning two centuries, from Thomas Bowler in the 1800s to contemporary works from artists such as Lionel Smith and William Kentridge. Other notable galleries in the city include WHATIFTHEWORLD and Gallery MOMO.

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Helsinki

From all of Helsinki’s contemporary art galleries, of which there are many, Galerie Anhava leads the pack and has established itself as a leading gallery on the international art scene, regularly participating in art fairs including Art Basel, Art Forum Berlin and Madrid’s ARCO. Focusing particularly on contemporary Finnish and Nordic conceptual artists, Galerie Anhava gave acclaimed Finnish artist Antti Laitinen his first retrospective. Restaurant Finnjavel exhibits the best of Scandinavian cuisine through molecular gastronomy, and after, head over to Navy Jerry’s for some drinks and a sample of Helsinki’s heady nightlife.

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A Welcome to Conversation Under the Sun

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Created with a simple intention of presenting classic Italian cuisine in a beautiful setting, the series of small tented canopies, wandering peacocks, mature mango trees and wide opened doors of Bar Palladio Jaipur draw one into a world of beauty through a Mughal fantasy.

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Colored by the aroma of food and the spirit of conversation, this restaurant and lounge located within a daringly restored garden belvedere in the historic Narain Niwas Palace Hotel in Jaipur, India has become a place where people from across the globe can share their stories, find inspiration and unwind, letting their cares melt away.

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A Sound of Silence

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Setting out to create a super-yacht which would exude Zen and possess a greener carbon footprint, the multi award-winning Grace E features a range of luxury amenities arranged around a design which prioritizes both space and comfort.

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Grace E is not only the largest and most ambitious motoryacht launched to date by the Perini Navi Group, she is also the most complex and advanced. Conceived for long-range cruising, the yacht is able to roam the world’s oceans in complete comfort and safety for weeks.

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The key to Grace E’s globetrotting vocation lies in her innovative diesel-electric and Azipod propulsion. The advantages of diesel-electric propulsion for a yacht of her size and volume are the enhanced efficiency and operational versatility; the absence of drive shafts and struts that transmit vibrations means she is much quieter than conventional yachts in her class.

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The propulsion system and azimuthing pods also provide Dynamic Positioning capability, providing the yacht the ability to stay “on station” without having to deploy bottom-dragging anchors in protected marine environments, or when the seabed is too deep. The system is backed up by an equally efficient hull design. Designed by Philippe Briand, the slippery hull form and plumb bow combine a maximum waterline length with very low resistance. The result is a beautifully refined and seaworthy yacht that is as at home exploring the Norwegian fjords as she is entertaining guests in Monte Carlo.

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A cutting-edge power management system ensures that the generators always operate at maximum efficiency, producing exactly the right amount of power for navigation and hotel requirements at any one time, meaning lower fuel consumption, less maintenance and fewer emissions.

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Asian Mysticism

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The PuLi Hotel and Spa is an urban retreat in the middle of Shanghai, and places just as much importance in its spa experience as its residential experience. The Anantara Spa at the PuLi is designed with Chinese, Indian and Thai influences, and offers a haven of contemporary luxury and tranquility where individuals and couples alike can enjoy far reaching health and beauty benefits from treatments like the excellent Swedish massage. Inspired by China’s tea culture, the PuLi Hotel utilizes custom spa therapies that have been paired with four tea purities. Discover the detoxifying powers of Green Tea, the balancing force of White Tea, the enhancing properties of Chrysanthemum Tea and the beautifying spirit of Rose Tea.

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Glamour on the Bund – Shanghai, China

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Dining at Mr and Mrs Bund makes you feel like you’re guest at a party; a very sexy, stylish and glamorous party, where you are the star of the show.

This establishment by Paul Pairet borrows the best elements of a nightclub, and tweaks them perfectly to a fine dining restaurant; late night dining, the atmospheric lighting, sassy background music and the occasional slice of party glamour when bottles of champagne are brought to tables.

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The food reflects the ideals of the restaurant and takes an equally sophisticated but hip approach – tuna mousse comes served in a tin can, jumbo shrimp comes in a mason jar and the beef shank is inexplicably huge.

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Mr and Mrs Bund, then, is part restaurant, part bar, part rustic French food, but 100% unadulterated decadent fun.

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Sea Fishing: A Contest with the Sea

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Sea fishing enjoys as much popularity as football in Europe and the United States, but while football gathers people around the world together in excitement, fishing is more of a private moment of fun. The actor Charlie Chaplin often invited guests to the beach to fish, the writer Tolstoy liked to take his beer and cigars fishing in the Black Sea, and former Russian President Boris Yeltsin was fishing together with Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari in the visit to Finland. Fishing, compared to the other three noble sports (golf, equestrian and tennis), gives a little more adventure, competition and unpredictable stimulation.

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Sea fishing is known as the “game of the brave”. Excellent sea anglers are like fish, at home among the waves, and not only master the rich knowledge of fishing techniques, but also handy as craftsmen among their many equipments, as well as skilled at rock climbing, swimming, navigating (with boat owners being great support) and weather forecasting, with a basic capability of carrying a heavy load around. As for when to lure, when to reel, when to release, what not to throw… In addition to God’s will and respecting the sea, there are many rules to pay attention to. British writer Izaac Walton wrote “The Compleat Angler” a few hundred years ago, and it is still the anglers’ bible for not only its technical guide to fishing, but also the life philosophy gained by sea fishing – perhaps this is also the fun in fishing.

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Because of the many rules and requirements, sea fishing industry in China is still in its infancy, and just at the right moment, a sea fishing club has become a pioneer in the development of the industry. The first fishing club, Fishing Club 3630, is the leader in the circle. It works with the best vessels, captains and crews with more than 20 years of experience in the sea, professional guides, and provides pictures and recordings throughout the whole process. From the tropics of Southeast Asia to the scenic New Zealand; from Helen Shoal to South China Sea; the Fishing Club 3630 is the braver one in the game.

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Sophistication in Intimacy

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Tucked away in the elegance of The Rittenhouse, the Library Bar is a haven from the city streets, a place to meet, converse and celebrate. Among the best hotel bars in Philadelphia, this exquisitely designed refuge is perfect for escaping from the rigors of the day.

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Dark paneled wood, herringbone-patterned oak floors, and golden leather bar-stools and banquettes imbue the bar with an intimate, cozy atmosphere, while the curated collection of books and fine art speak the hotel’s place in the history of Philadelphia and American tradition. With an exceptional selection of craft cocktails, beers, wines and the very best rare spirits served by dedicated bartenders, it is indeed a playground for the palate.

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Secret in Opulence

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Hermes’ Médor Secrète is draped in white diamonds and studded with pyramids entirely encircling the wrist. Crafted in white gold, the distinctive geometry – a square base and arched sides creating a volume effect – shines amid the surrounding gems. It radiates exquisite opulence with its 10 white diamond-set pyramids; the largest of them conceals a watch, revealed by means of a locking system that is opened via a pushbutton hidden beneath the gem-setting. This discreet and long-lasting system calls for meticulous expertise which, together with the creative boldness, ensures that Médor Secrète blends in perfectly with the spirit of the Maison Hermès.

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The “Polo” Life

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Located next door to the Polo flagship store on Fifth Avenue, and across from the mainstay of luxury, the St. Regis hotel, the Polo Bar is Ralph Lauren’s first New York restaurant. The Polo Bar offers a casual yet refined setting for food and drink in the heart of NYC.

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As expected, horse-centric decor complete with illustrations of polo matches and other equestrian-themed subjects – hunter-green walls, aged leather and wood accents – are all on display. Plates and pillows feature the signature red and green plaid, and the food, much like RL’s clothing and furnishings, is served in a range of classic American to haute cuisine. Even the staff wears custom Ralph Lauren gray flannel trousers, paired with leather wingtips and silk repp ties. From the Henry Koehler polo-match-inspired mural on the exterior to the saddle leather and equestrian art inside, the restaurant offers an experience of the “Polo” life.

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The Cathay Room at Fairmont Peace Hotel

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The Cathay Room is the quintessential old Orient establishment; situated in the iconic Fairmont Peace Hotel, the legendary Cathay Room has been hosting distinguished guests and dignitaries for almost a century. The cuisine here veers from European delicacies to prime roasts, and with the 200 label strong wine list, there is a pairing for every meal. Magnificent views featuring the Huangpu River and the Shanghai skyline, combined with dreamy old world Shanghai décor, The Cathay Room really is the authentic Shanghai experience.

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