The Radical 2010 Rapide

Overview

Aston Martin's long-awaited 4-door sports car. Plus, Travel - timeless new hotels in Tuscany, and Watches - original movements from Cartier and Bulgari. Also, Grand Openings - new destinations in Barcelona, Chicago, Lake Tahoe, and Venice.

From This Issue

Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

The Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, opened in November in a former bank building on the city’s main shopping avenue, Passeig de Gràcia, within walking distance of such sights as Casa Milá and Casa Battló, two of architect Antoni Gaudí’s best-known residential designs. Guests enter the 98-room hotel via a glass catwalk that bridges an eight-story atrium […]

The Elysian

Amid a sea of skyscrapers on the corner of Walton and Rush streets, the 60-story Elysian hotel opened in December as the newest addition to Chicago’s chic Gold Coast neighborhood. A circular driveway leads to the black-and-white lobby (top and above right), where several of the hotel’s 65 contemporary artworks—including two face sculptures by Mexican […]

Palazzina Grassi

Can a sexagenarian still be an enfant terrible? French designer Philippe Starck may be 61, but, as his latest hotel project attests, he is still deserving of his pet moniker. Known for his brash, outsize interiors at such hotels as the Mondrian in Los Angeles and the Delano in Miami, Starck is now making waves […]

The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe

Parking valets at the new Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, abscond with your ski equipment the moment you arrive at the resort. To retrieve your gear, simply stroll down from your room to the mountain-concierge desk, where the hotel’s ski valets will fetch your boots, strap your buckles, and escort you to your skis and poles […]

Style: Jeweled Tones

Over the past two years, colored diamonds have caused sensations in auction rooms around the globe, as several rare stones fetched record-breaking prices. These astounding transactions include the recent Christie’s sale in Hong Kong of a 5-carat vivid pink diamond that went for $10.8 million—or $2.16 million per carat. “There is a very limited supply […]

Independence Movements

Serious collectors may purchase timepieces from a jeweler, but many shy away from buying a watch made by even the most prestigious jewelry houses. “I have to say that when I see a watch from a jewelry brand, I think of jewelry, not watches,” admits Mark Richards, a Texas-based collector of complicated timepieces from traditional […]

Independence Movements: Woman of the Hour

Cartier, like Bulgari, has brought enormous corporate resources to bear in its drive to become a force in mechanical watchmaking. Yet the firm’s most important resource in this process so far has been a human one. Almost every one of Cartier’s achievements in mechanical watchmaking today bears the fingerprints of design movement specialist Carole Forestier. […]

Under the Tuscan Sundial

In Tuscany, the most ordinary landscapes are strewn with the detritus of history. Rutted roads and trails dating to the Roman Empire cut through the countryside, leading past Renaissance manors, medieval cathedrals, and centuries-old wineries. The region’s timelessness, however, has an inconvenient corollary: Things do not move very fast in this part of Italy. “You […]

Rapide Fire

Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin’s illustrious CEO, has an affinity for four-door vehicles. The stunningly sporty and elegant 2010 Aston Martin Rapide—which officially debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September—is just the latest evidence of his affection. “I did a four-door sports car before, when I was at Porsche in the 1980s,” says Bez. […]

Autos: B Is For…

BMW’s new 5 series GT is a rare thing indeed. It is a concept that not only deftly avoids conventional pigeonholing but one that also constitutes its own category. The strategy behind the GT is simple: to deliver a vehicle that combines the load-lugging versatility of an estate wagon with the people-carrying capability of a minivan—all […]

Boating: Class Distinction

In the past decade, Benetti has produced more than 100 yachts longer than 80 feet, amassing a total footage that easily bests the output of any other builder. This disparity should only increase in the coming years, as the Italian yacht company rolls out its all-new Class series. The first two models in the Class […]

Wardrobe: Down Under

In 1954, a little-known French sleeping-bag, glove, and snowsuit maker named Moncler used its billowy white blanket filler as insulation in the extreme-climate jackets it created for renowned French mountain climber Lionel Terray. A year later, the alpinist gave these innovative garments high-profile (as well as high-altitude) exposure when he and his expedition team wore […]

Spas: Curative Measures

With its abundance of beach resorts and wellness retreats, Hawaii has become a haven for spa-goers. But unlike other popular spa destinations, such as Italy and Japan, the Hawaiian Islands have no real spa culture to speak of, and few traditional spa practices from which to draw. So when the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on […]

Sport: Raging Beauty

My rafting adventure last May on Idaho’s Bruneau River began well before our group reached the white water. Two hours into a drive across empty sage-strewn desert, our caravan of Suburbans transitioned from a gravel road to what appeared to be a cow trail. We halted abruptly in front of a hazardous crag, where our […]

Home: Curtain Call

A thread of summer runs through the new Island series of fabrics from Anthony Lawrence-Belfair (ALB). The New York–based custom-furnishings company charged interior designer Juan Montoya with creating the line’s 10 light and refined patterns, which creative director Lana Lawrence, daughter of ALB founder Anthony Lawrence, calls “casual yet elegant.” For Montoya—who worked with Lana on […]

Watches: Three O’Clock Roadblock

‘‘i went to Paris and learned how Coco Chanel approached fashion,” says complicated-watch specialist Giulio Papi of his visit to the fabled house to discuss collaboration on a new timepiece. “It was then that I agreed to take on this project, because I like to work the same way with watches.” The synergy was particularly […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Carrera Mia

1961 Porsche 356B GTL Abarth Carrera German in an Italian suit, the Porsche Abarth GTL is a remarkably elegant feat of engineering conceived by Austrian racer and racecar builder Carlo Abarth. Although born in Vienna, Abarth lived most of his life in Italy, where, in 1949, he established his own car company. The Turin-based enterprise […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Body Art

Artist Alexander Calder (1898–1976) is renowned for his whimsical sculptures and mobiles, but only a few admirers are aware that he also created several pieces of jewelry. Most were for his wife, Louisa, and for friends like Peggy Guggenheim, who commissioned him to make a pair of mobile earrings. This 1938 necklace—constructed of brass that […]

FrontRunners: McLaren

Launched in 1992, the McLaren F1 was a standout among supercars. But after a production run of just 107 vehicles, the model reached the end of the line in 1998. Now, however, the British racing brand is back—and is planning to build about 1,000 examples of its new 2011 McLaren MP4-12C (www.mclarenautomotive.com). McLaren engineered, designed, […]

FrontRunners: Above and Beyond

Scheduled for delivery later this year, the Embraer Legacy 650 (www.embraer.com) is an improvement on the Brazilian manufacturer’s already popular Legacy 600 aircraft. Beefier wings, additional fuel tanks, and more efficient Rolls-Royce engines extend the new jet’s range to an ocean-hopping 4,000 miles with a full load of 14 passengers—a combination no other plane in […]

FrontRunners: Mountain Time

Aspen’s alpine-sport atmosphere and flashy social scene inspired the limited-edition Aspen One wristwatch (www.aspenjewelryandwatches.com), which was assembled by Baume & Mercier for the town’s Aspen Jewelry and Watches. The large gold chronograph, which debuted last year, hinges open at the base to reveal a working compass. The hinge also allows you to alternate between the […]

FrontRunners: Loud and Clear

With its onboard digital amplification and signal processing, the new Harman Kardon GLA-55 speaker system (www.harmankardon.com) delivers desktop audio that could please even the most ardent audiophile. The two-speaker setup, which connects directly to a computer or MP3 player, incorporates 3-inch woofers that can oscillate the same distance as drivers six times as large, offering […]

FrontRunners: Model GT

The Frauscher 717 GT (www.frauscherboats.com) evokes the styling of gentlemen’s runabouts of the late 1920s, when Frauscher first opened its shipyard on the banks of Austria’s Lake Traunsee. But the vessel, which launched last October, also displays the Austrian builder’s current penchant for performance. A shaft-propulsion system helps push the boat to a top speed […]

FrontRunners: Railroad Crossing

The Orient-Express company’s Royal Scotsman has offered luxury train itineraries through the Scottish Highlands for 25 years. This year, for the first time, the train will venture outside Scotland for its Grand Tour of Great Britain (www.orient-express.com). Highlights of the seven-night, $12,800-per-person trip, which departs from Edinburgh on July 9, include private tastings at Strathisla […]

FrontRunners: L.A. Woman

Sylva Yepremian’s Sylva & Cie. jewelry (www.sylvacie.com) combines refined old-world craftsmanship with such avant-garde materials as large, rough-diamond rocks and bright-colored opals. Striking new designs from the Los Angeles–based designer, who launched her brand three years ago, include a large purplish Australian opal ring surrounded by twin diamond-encrusted serpents. Another ring features an intricate rose-gold […]

FrontRunners: Torte to Go

For nearly three decades, the Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil (www.aubergedusoleil.com) in Napa Valley has consistently delivered some of the finest cuisine in California wine country. Now the Michelin-starred establishment on Rutherford Hill is delivering some of those gastronomic delights to the home. The Auberge Torte au Chocolat—a decadent confection that balances crisp hazelnut dacquoise, […]

FrontRunners: Fashion Scents

Best known for its tailored men’s clothing, the Italian brand Brioni is celebrating its 65th anniversary with the launch of a limited-edition men’s fragrance that aims to capture the essence of Italy. The scent, simply called Brioni (www.brioni.com), is a combination of bergamot from Calabria, lemon from Sicily, and other all-natural Italian ingredients. Modeled after […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

After the physical and economic devastation of World War II, the majority of Italian wineries emphasized quantity over quality, turning out often-troubled wines in high volume. Only in the 1970s did these producers begin to recognize the error of their ways, as Italy’s reputation for frustratingly inconsistent wines spread worldwide. A handful of families, however, […]

Splendor in Ruins

Even in Napa Valley, where pride of place generally takes precedence over progress, history occasionally gives way to expedience. Fortunately, when a landmark Napa property owned by the Livingston family was sold in 2005, its buyer had a profound respect not only for its past but for its future as the home of his own […]

Wheels: Porsche Perfect

In the world of high-performance cars, the Porsche 911 Turbo has nothing to prove. Introduced to the United States in 1976 as the Porsche 930, the vehicle made quite a splash with its “whale tail” rear spoiler and 260 hp 3-liter 6-cylinder engine—the first series-production sports-car engine equipped with a turbocharger (hence the modern-day nameplate). […]

From the Editor: A Tuscan Retreat

Tuscany’s idyllic scenery suggests to the modern visitor a simple life of refinement and repose, far removed from the vulgar intrusions of urban existence. As writer Jack Smith observes in this month’s feature “Under the Tuscan Sundial”, the landscape had a similar appeal for the Medici and other ruling families who, from the 14th century […]