Special Issue: The 2009 Luxury Preview

Overview

The 2009 luxury preview, Bugatti's new 253-mph $2.2 million convertible, & Boeing's ultra-opulent 787 VIP jet unveiled. Plus, Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black series, Armani hotels & resorts, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Carbon Concept, Perini Navi Vitruvius Explorer, Dubai's Dynamic Tower, Las Vegas' CityCenter, Lexus LF-1, Girard-Perregaux Rattrapante Chronograph & more.

From This Issue

Contributors: New & Noteworthy

Keeping track of thousands of the world’s top hotels and resorts is part of the daily routine for Robb Report associate editor Jennifer Hall. In this issue’s Luxury Preview special section, Hall turns her critical eye to the $600 million, 2,500-acre Christophe Harbour development on St. Kitts (see “Caribbean Haven,” page 166). “What makes this […]

FrontRunners: Let It Roll

The Daniel Roth il Giocatore Veneziano (www.danielroth.com) invites you to roll the dice on a $452,100 timepiece equipped with two of watchmaking’s oldest mechanisms, the minute repeater and the automaton, which both date to the 17th century. One of the buttons on the side of the watchcase activates the automaton, moving the dial’s engraved image—which […]

FrontRunners: Great Escape

Kaleidescape, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company whose 1U Server was featured in Robb Report’s 2005 Best of the Best issue, recently introduced two movie players that enhance the media server’s capabilities. The Kaleidescape 1080p Player and Mini Player (www?.kaleid?escape.com) will scale DVD playback up to a screen resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels—the highest resolution currently […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

After founding his eponymous winery in 2002, Cliff Lede struggled with its numbers. These were not financial figures; rather, the digits in question were the designations used to identify vineyard blocks within his 60 acres in the Stags Leap District. “I couldn’t keep them straight,” he explains. “So I decided we needed to give them […]

FrontRunners: Casting Couches

The new Phyllis Morris Originals Old Hollywood furniture line (www.phyllismorris.com) reflects the appreciation that the company’s namesake and founder had for dramatic flare. Like all of the 55-year-old company’s furniture, which it makes at its factory in Los Angeles, this latest collection displays Art Deco and Hollywood Regency influences. Phyllis Morris will customize the upholstery […]

Aviation: Just for Fun

Kirk Hawkins is no stranger to taking risks. He has flown F-16s in the U.S. Air Force, raced motocross, and logged almost 1,000 skydives. Now the 41-year-old resident of Los Angeles is taking what may be the biggest risk of his life: In 2005 he and his business partner, Steen Strand, 42, launched Icon Aircraft, […]

Spirits: Singular Sensation

In the worlds of cars, cigars, and wine, the word vintage is often bandied about. But it is rarely applied to Cognac, as this double-distilled brandy is usually a carefully constructed blend of many eaux-de-vie produced in various years. There are occasions, however, when a single-vintage Cognac exhibits refinement that allows it to stand on […]

Smoke: Pride and Prejudice

When asked about the origins of the gorgeous, ebony-shaded maduro wrapper on his company’s latest cigar, the marketing director hesitantly answers, “San Andrés.” “Oh, it’s Mexican,” the reporter responds. “We prefer to call it San Andrés,” the marketing director insists. This exchange will surprise no one in the cigar industry. The San Andrés Valley in […]

Sport: Sprucing Up Stowe

During the great depression, when downhill skiing was in its infancy in North America and the sport’s enthusiasts were mostly considered daft, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) sponsored a make-work effort to create ski trails on Vermont’s highest peak. Led by highway engineer (and skier) Charlie Lord—and using axes, crosscut saws, and oxen to clear […]

Spas: All Dressed Up

My authentic moor mud massage did not begin as I envisioned it would. The itinerary I received when I checked in to Zurich’s Dolder Grand resort stated that my scheduled treatment was “by Kerstin Florian,” which, to a novice spa-goer, naturally meant that a blue-eyed masseuse with a Nordic accent would soon be lathering me […]

Boating: Victory at Sea

Burger Boat has struck solid gold with its latest launch, Ingot. The 153-foot trideck yacht, the largest in Burger’s century-plus history, also represents an aesthetic triumph for the United States’ oldest shipyard, which is located in Manitowoc, Wis. Designed by Burger and the Dutch naval-architecture firm Vripack, Ingot has a classic-looking yacht exterior, but its […]

Vacation Homes: The Comeback Club

To hear Geoffrey Kent tell it, little has changed with the safari-outfitting company Abercrombie & Kent since he and his parents, John and Valerie Kent, founded it in 1962. “We’ve always been about delivering above expectation,” he says. Indeed, the company was, and still is, the gold standard for exotic travel, best known for its […]

Wardrobe: Perfect Scale

Italy’s Tardini family has a long-held passion for cold-blooded creatures—or, at least, for the hides of one in particular: Alligator mississippiensis. Yet Giuseppe Tardini’s pursuit of perfect skins used to lead him only to frustration. The specimens of alligator that he had been obtaining from American traders were coarse and frequently blemished—hardly suitable materials from […]

Jewelry: A Cabinet of Curiosities

Parisian Lydia Courteille’s career as a jewelry designer began with the purchase of a temperamental antique watch that would frequently stop, requiring her to return repeatedly to the dealer to have it repaired. On these visits, she often strolled among the shop’s displays of antique jewelry, running her fingers lightly over various items that caught […]

Art: Poster Boy

From 1924 to 1928, moviegoers in Rochester, N.Y., enjoyed a rare and magnificent sight: seven or eight new hand-painted movie posters every week, created by local artist Batiste Madalena for Kodak founder George Eastman’s movie theater. “Eastman decided to build the greatest movie palace ever,” says retired documentary filmmaker Steven Katten, who brought Madalena’s work […]

Home: Hip to Be Square

When the silver fund gallery left its longtime San Francisco space near Union Square last February, it relocated to the only neighborhood that seemed right for the world’s foremost source of Georg Jensen estate silver. “With its wealth of knowledgeable dealers and its historic setting,” says the Silver Fund’s manager, Rachel Prater, “Jackson Square was […]

2009 Luxury Preview

The winds of change will be blowing with gale force in March, when Bugatti launches the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport—a convertible supercar that speeds to 224 mph with its top down. This hair-raising, $2.2 million machine is one of several items featured in our annual preview of the coming year’s most promising products, designs, and […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Dynamic Tower

The idea for a rotating skyscraper came to architect David Fisher one evening while he enjoyed the sunset from a high-rise building in New York City. “I could see both the Hudson and East rivers, and I thought, ‘Why can’t we rotate the floor so everyone could see?’ “ Raised in Tel Aviv and educated […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Terranea and Pelican Hill

Before it closed in 1987, Marineland of the Pacific was arguably the world’s most scenic theme park. The Sea World–like facility—where families could feed herring to dolphins, swim in an aquarium with leopard sharks, and watch Shamu (then known as Corky) perform aerial tricks—occupied a promontory with 270-degree views of the Pacific Ocean on Los […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Canyon Ranch Living and Miraval

Long before a certain slice of Central American beach was discovered by Columbus and dubbed Costa Rica, that same verdant expanse served as a haven for birds, monkeys, and orchids. Today the country is a de facto wildlife sanctuary, providing a home for nearly 4 percent of Earth’s known species. Soon, humans also will be […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Aetna Springs

In a mining project in Napa County’s Pope Valley struck pay dirt of another kind: a natural hot spring. The owners rewrote their business plan, constructing a lodge on the 700-plus-acre property over the next several years. Soon, well- heeled San Franciscans began to make the 80-mile journey to the Aetna Springs Resort to enjoy […]

2009 Luxury Preview: CityCenter

  Las Vegas caters as much to the gourmet as it does to the gambler. Since 1992, with the success of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant at Caesars Palace, superstar chefs have flocked to Sin City, creating one of the most impressive and diverse selections of fine-dining establishments on the planet. And the debut late next […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Sporting Savile Row

Although Italian sportswear designer Brunello Cucinelli only recently announced plans to launch his first men’s tailored clothing collection for spring 2009, his distinctive style has subtly influenced the designs of traditional suitmakers for years. Suede elbow patches, throat tabs on lapels, and embroidered insignias concealed under elegant felt collars—all hallmarks of Cucinelli’s cashmere sportswear—have become […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Caribbean Haven

St. Kitts is known more for its natural beauty than for its hotels and resorts—which, for LeGrand Elebash, is precisely what makes the Caribbean island so appealing. “While other islands have seen intense development in recent years, St. Kitts has, thankfully, retained its soul,” says Elebash, who is COO of the development company behind the […]

2009 Luxury Preview: A Vine Year

Located on just 16 acres of picturesque vineyards in Tuscany’s coastal region of Bolgheri, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is renowned for producing a number of the best Super Tuscan blends, most notably Masseto, a much-coveted single-vineyard Merlot. With an anticipated release in the autumn of 2009, the 2006 vintage promises to match the quality of the impressive […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Ring Around the World

An angry dwarf, spurned by three flirty sisters, steals their treasure and gives up love forever in order to create an all-powerful piece of jewelry—the Ring of the Nibelung. Richard Wagner’s four-opera masterpiece, known as The Ring Cycle, lasts 15 hours altogether and includes theft and slaughter, an incest baby, a magic potion, and a […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Trotter Town

This year marks the 21st anniversary of Charlie Trotter’s flagship restaurant in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. And if all goes as planned, by early next year the renowned chef will be running two more restaurants in his native town. Set within the 60-story Elysian—a luxury hotel and residential development currently under way in […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Lighter, Brighter Zegna

For nearly a century, Ermenegildo Zegna has pioneered proprietary fabrics and technologies that have redefined modern menswear. In 2006, Zegna Sport debuted the iJacket, which boasts a built-in touch-control panel made from sandwiched layers of conductive carbon-coated nylon, enabling the wearer to interface with his iPod simply by touching his sleeve. For fall 2008, the […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Roman Explorer

Perini Navi—known for its graceful but highly technical sailing megayachts, like the 289-foot Maltese Falcon—is launching a stunning new line of motor yachts being designed by French naval architect Philippe Briand. Named for a first-century Roman architect, Perini Navi’s Vitruvius project is now working on a 164-foot expedition yacht dubbed Explorer, which will launch in […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Lotus Blossoms

When the Lotus Evora arrives in the United States next summer, the car will introduce an element of practicality to what has been, to date, a boy-racer brand. While Lotus’ smaller Elise and Exige models eschew creature comforts to maintain their lightweight agility, the Evora will feature two rear seats, a leather-lined cabin, an optional […]

2009 Luxury Preview: High-Seas Horology

Two years ago Corum updated its 48-year-old Admiral’s Cup collection, which is dedicated to sailing. This year, the brand further invigorated the series with the Admiral’s Cup Tourbillon 48, an elegant watch better suited for lounging on the deck of a yacht than for manning a racing sloop. Corum preserves the model’s signature lines in […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Leading Legacy

Embraer’s beginnings were humble. In 1960, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer began designing its first model, the Bandeirante, a somewhat primitive turboprop that it planned to mass-produce in a São Paulo industrial shed at the rate of two planes per month. Forty-eight years later, Embraer—now a global aerospace powerhouse—is designing the Bandeirante’s latest descendant, the Legacy […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Good Wood

Nothing affects the flavor of a whisky more than the wood in which it is aged. To that end, the 2009 release of Glenmorangie Astar (Gaelic for “journey”) has been aged in slow-growth, fine-grain American oak barrels. Harvested in 1985 from specially selected trees in the Ozark Mountains, the wood was seasoned by the rain […]

Roomy with a View

After designing five homes for one family over the course of a 25-year working relationship, Chicago-based interior designer Cheri Friedman of Cheri Lynn Designs has come to know her clients very well. So well, in fact, that when an 8,000-square-foot penthouse on the 18th floor of a Lake Shore Drive building became available, the couple […]

Hang Time: The Next Adventure

Zero Gravity Corp. currently holds a monopoly on the market for weightless flight, but various companies have been preparing to offer suborbital flights, which will involve vehicles soaring 62 miles above Earth to provide three to five minutes of weightlessness. In the August 2006 article “The New Space Race,” Robb Report profiled companies in the […]

Leisure: Eternal Flame

Cigar-making has changed little in the past 150 years. It remains, for the most part, a conservative industry. But even the more staid brands seem as fast-moving as Silicon Valley startups when compared with Padrón Cigars. While most cigar manufacturers introduce at least a couple of fresh formulations each year, new Padrón blends arrive about […]

The Robb Reader: Wolfgang Puck

Last year, wolfgang puck celebrated the 25th anniversary of his famed restaurant, Spago, which recently received two Michelin stars; he opened a new restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, in Colorado; and he married handbag designer Gelila Assefa, the mother of his two small children, in Italy. We caught up with the Austrian chef on […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Found in Translation

1967 Toyota 2000GT Conventional wisdom once held that all Japanese cars were cheap or stodgy. That opinion began to change at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, when Toyota debuted the 2000GT. Conceived by Yamaha—a company known for building motorcycles and pianos—the two-seater featured a wood-paneled interior, a fully independent suspension, and a 2-liter, straight-6 engine […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Top Drawer

It appears that the Hong Kong collector who paid some $564,000 at last year’s Only Watch auction in Monaco for an empty box—a stand-in for a mysterious and then-unfinished one-of-a-kind timepiece from the House of DeWitt (305.572.9812, http://www.dewitt.ch)—secured a pretty good bargain. That watch, built in collaboration with architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, has inspired a 33-piece […]

FrontRunners: Bimota

Bimota has built motorcycles—one at a time, by hand—at its factory near Rimini, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, for much of the last 35 years. The one significant break in production occurred at the start of this decade, when the recall of an engine sent the company into bankruptcy and forced it to shut its factory […]

FrontRunners: First Impressions

In 1927, on a Parisian boulevard, 45-year-old husband and father Pablo Picasso first laid eyes on 17-year-old Marie-Thérèse Walter. She was walking alone; he asked to paint her portrait; and one thing led to another. A selection of Picasso’s portraits and sculptures of his long-time mistress will be shown from October 15 through November 29 […]

FrontRunners: Rocks on a Roll

Two exceptionally rare colored diamonds will be the highlights of Christie’s New York Jewelry Sale (www.christies?.com) on October 15 in Manhattan. The stones—a 7.02-carat intense blue diamond and a 5.60-carat bright purplish-pink diamond—have presale estimate prices as high as $5 million and $3 million, respectively. However, over the past 18 months, auction prices for colored […]

FrontRunners: Cue Is for Queen

The Brunswick Billiards Isabella (www?.brunswickbilliards.com) is a table fit for—or at least named for—a queen. “We wanted the name of a strong, elegant woman from European history, and we liked that Isabella was independent and had a reputation for being beautiful,” explains Brunswick president Sean Cummings. Isabella certainly was no shrinking violet; with assistance from […]

FrontRunners: Dinner on Display

The private dining rooms at Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood (www.gordonramsay?.com), which opened in May in one of Los Angeles’ newest hotels, are places to be seen—or not. Four of the five rooms have glass walls, but they also have privacy shades. There, in view of other diners or out of sight, you […]

FrontRunners: Jet ’Vette

The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (www.chevrolet.com) is the fastest, most powerful Corvette ever made for public consumption. The ZR1’s 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 engine, dubbed the LS9, produces 604 ft lbs of torque at 3,800 rpm, which propels the 3,324-pound car to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. The pushrod motor also develops 638 hp, enabling Chevrolet […]

Autos: Eight Is Enough

As I short-shift out of the Porsche Curves toward the start-finish straight at Le Mans, I uncork a lifelong fantasy: to drive under the Dunlop Tire bridge—the most famous photo prop in motorsports—with spectators in the stands. I realize this dream while piloting the 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage on the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, […]

Watches: Fashionably On Time

Fashion powerhouse Chanel, in an attempt to elevate its standing among watch collectors, approached Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet in recent years to collaborate on a movement. In September, after two years in development, the first timepiece from this high-powered union was scheduled to debut.The J12 Calibre 3125, a striking model of black ceramic and […]

Wine: An Oenophile’s Escape

“I am a frustrated hotelier,” declares John Jordan, CEO of Jordan Vineyard & Winery, as he pilots our boat toward a small oak-enshrouded island at the center of the lake. We are on his Alexander Valley estate in Sonoma County, Calif. As the boat glides alongside the railings of a dock projecting from the island’s […]

Dining: Carne Cum Laude

Serious practitioners of the art may cite endless rules for successful barbecuing, but Steven Raichlen grills by just three: “Keep it hot, keep it clean, and keep it lubricated.” On a particularly warm summer day, he stands before some 50 barbecue enthusiasts on an outdoor patio at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Colo. He […]

Travel: Colca and a Smile

Though unsure of my exact altitude, I am certain—based on my surroundings and shortness of breath—that I am nowhere near sea level. Of course, my gasping also might owe to the precipitous drop directly in front of me, a sheer cliff that plunges into one of Earth’s deepest valleys. Snowcapped volcanic mountains rise above me, […]

Collectibles: The Island State

“I discovered antique maps on a ski trip to Taos, where I stumbled into a shop selling them and instantly fell in love,” says Barry Lawrence Ruderman, whose eponymous gallery overlooks the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, Calif. “That day changed my life: Being an obsessive-compulsive young lawyer with disposable income and no bad habits […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport

Though the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport will not officially be available until March, the first convertible supercar in the series of 150 was sold at the Gooding & Company auction in Monterey, Calif., in August. Bugatti donated the proceeds to charity, but there is nothing altruistic about the car itself: The Veyron remains a […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Boeing 787 VIP

When the first 787 VIP rolls off the assembly line in Everett, Wash., in a few years, Boeing will send the new aircraft to a completion center of the purchaser’s choice for custom-designed interior work. in anticipation of such a project, Magnus Aspegren, creative director of BMW Group DesignworksUSA, has produced a design concept for […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Carbon Concept

Superstrong and ultralight, carbon fiber has long been the preferred material for high-performance applications that demand sturdiness. Formula 1 racecars, America’s Cup yachts, and even aerospace vehicles have fully leveraged the material’s technical properties. Until recently, however, many watch designers used the matte-black, swirl-textured composite primarily for decorative accents. Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet, however, pioneered […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series

Call it stealth marketing. Over this past summer, Mercedes-Benz leaked a few photos depicting a camouflaged Speedster version of the SLR McLaren onto the Internet. Shortly thereafter, YouTube buzzed with video footage of the undercover supercar lapping Germany’s Nürburgring test track. The Speedster—which is reportedly capable of a 220 mph top speed—represents the SLR McLaren’s […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Cartier High Jewelry and Chanel Fine Jewelry

Fascinated by the chimera of Greek mythology, Louis Cartier—a scion of the French jewelry house—commissioned in 1922 a jeweled bangle carved from coral in the shape of a two-headed version of the imaginary beast. Several more pieces on the same theme followed. These contemporary depictions of ancient, exotic figures helped to lay the foundation for […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Armani Hotels & Resorts

Whenever I build a new home, I try to respect the indigenous architecture of the place and its natural surroundings,” says Italian fashion grand master Giorgio Armani, who is taking a similar approach as a hotelier. The designer’s first hotel is expected to open next year inside the tallest building in the world, a structure that […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Pagani Sound System

At the top Marques Monaco auto show in April, Pagani—the Italian automaker whose elusive Zonda Roadster is banned on American streets—unveiled the prototype for a high-fidelity audio system that embodies the company’s philosophy of merging technology and art. The distinctively styled Pagani Sound System, which includes speakers, amplifiers, a turntable, and a CD player, delivers […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Super Sly

Japanese automobile companies are notoriously reticent when it comes to sharing information about potential new models. But while it has yet to confirm any details about its forthcoming supercar, Lexus has not been shy about testing prototype two-seaters at tracks around the world. The vehicle in question—which may be introduced as the Lexus LF-1 production […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Racing Form

Around 1880, Constant Girard—founder of Girard-Perregaux—unveiled a pocket watch that could measure fractions of a second. The function was named foudroyante, from the French word for “lightning.” This year, the firm—one of few companies that produce foudroyante timepieces—combines the function with a rattrapante (split-second) chronograph and the acclaimed Three Gold Bridge tourbillon in the $530,000 […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Star Fleet

Two hundred horsepower may seem trifling to sports car aficionados, but it is a magic number for motorcycle enthusiasts. While it will likely fall a few horsepower short of that figure, the all-new 2009 Star VMAX should rewrite the quarter-mile record books for production motorcycles. The bike’s muscular, 1,679 cc, short-stroke V-4 powerplant will conspire […]

2009 Luxury Preview: Shades of Kiton

Kiton’s reputation rests on its superbly constructed, handmade tailored clothing; but in recent years the Naples, Italy–based suitmaker has applied this craftsmanship and attention to detail to other sartorial products, including leather outerwear, knitwear, custom-made shoes, and even denim jeans. The firm’s newest venture is a collection of handmade eyewear that is every bit as […]

The New Ocean Explorers

Roger Allard, his wife, Joan, and their 10-year-old daughter, Kimberly, have spent the last two years cruising leisurely around the South Pacific aboard New Paige, a Nordhavn 55 expedition yacht. “Every day is different, and every day offers challenges,” says Roger, speaking from Tahiti. “But what we like best about this lifestyle is that it’s […]

The New Ocean Explorers: Smooth Operator

Before spending tens of millions of dollars on a new expedition yacht, Alex Dreyfoos, an MIT-educated engineer from Westchester County, N.Y., went to exceptional lengths to test a particular hull design. Boarding a pilot boat out of Cuxhaven, Germany, Dreyfoos headed into 12-to-15-foot breakers in the North Sea, one of the world’s most treacherous stretches […]

The Man Who Fell from the Sky: Adour

New York and Washington, D.C. Wine is the theme at Adour, where hand-blown, glass-sphere wall hangings appear to float upward like bubbles in a Champagne flute. At the bar of this recently opened restaurant at New York’s St. Regis Hotel, guests select and study their wines via a state-of-the-art touchscreen built into the countertop. Sommeliers […]

The Man Who Fell from the Sky: Le Louis XV

Monaco Like no other restaurant in the world, Le Louis XV at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco exudes privilege. Here, fleshy cupids people-watch from their perches on fluffy trompe l’oeil clouds while assorted 17th-century notables peer out from gilded niches. The cutlery, too, is gilded, as are the pilasters that run along the walls. […]

The Man Who Fell from the Sky: Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

Paris Thousands of tiny crystals orbit the chandeliers, bathing the dining room at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in a Milky Way of lights. The initial sense of awe at this celestial display gradually gives way to an awareness that the restaurant is as fun as it is elegant. Like the amiable host of a […]

The Man Who Fell from the Sky: Le Jules Verne

Paris One of the world’s most unforgettable dining experiences begins at the esplanade by the Eiffel Tower’s South Pillar, where a private lift whisks you to Le Jules Verne restaurant. By day, the views from your table are breathtaking; at night, with the City of Lights twinkling below you, there is no more romantic restaurant […]

The Man Who Fell from the Sky: Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester

London The first thing one notices at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, in London, is the shimmering screen of 4,500 fiber–optic lights that drops from the ceiling to surround a space in the dining room where as many as six guests can either eat in private or be beamed up to the USS Enterprise. A […]

The Man Who Fell from the Sky: Benoit

Paris, New York, and Tokyo The original Benoit opened in 1912, close to the Tour Saint-Jacques. Acquired by Ducasse in 2005, the restaurant remains one of the last authentic bistros in Paris and is the only bistro in the city with a Michelin star. Much of Benoit’s charm is its ambience—lamps on the bar, red-velvet […]

The Man Who Fell from the Sky

“You know what i would like to do?” begins Alain Ducasse, the peripatetic French chef. “I would like to build a restaurant on Mars.” His visitor, an American, nods appreciatively at this notion. If anyone is capable of establishing a restaurant on Mars—one worth the trip, not some greasy spoon or mass-market theme place—it would […]

Time: Objets in Motion

Throughout his life, Swiss engineer Jean-Léon Reutter was fascinated by the idea of a clock that could keep time for centuries without a winding mechanism or an external power source. In 1928, upon testing the first prototype of his visionary perpetual clock, Reutter—who was a graduate of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich—determined that […]

Wings & Water: Aloft on Less

When shopping for personal aircraft, potential buyers often consider such factors as size, range, payload, and speed, among others. Verne Murray of Diablo, Calif., had something else in mind: fuel efficiency. “My new Diamond DA40 XL burns less than 10 gallons per hour,” he says. “I compared this rate to those of similar Cessna and […]

Journeys: Hang Time

When the plane, a Boeing 727-?200, reaches an altitude of 22,000 feet above the Nevada desert, the uniformed, perky flight attendants give the all-clear sign. The other 34 passengers and I unbuckle our belts, leave our seats at the back of the plane—the only seats in the cabin—and gather at the designated spots toward the […]