Archive for April, 2011

Azam – ‘Art Below Zero’

Ginza line, Shibuya, Tokyo and Central Line, Liverpool Street, London
11th – 25th April 2011

Art Below have collaborated with the London-based contemporary artist Nasser Azam (cover story, September 2009,) to stage a two week public exhibition of the artist’s ground-breaking Antarctica project.

Hosted simultaneously in the Tokyo Subway and London Underground, Azam will be showing a series of paintings, photography and video footage from his trip to Antarctica in February 2010, which was preceded by his equally ground-breaking ‘Life in Space’ project in July 2008, which saw him complete two triptychs in zero gravity as a homage to Francis Bacon.

The exhibition shows the results of Azam’s expedition in which he endured extreme weather conditions to produce 13 large abstract oil paintings responding to different landscapes, including ice lakes, caves, glaciers and ice deserts, all documented by an accompanying camera crew. And, as part of the video projection, a short film made in collaboration with BAFTA-nominated British Film Director Ed Blum, will also be shown on loop.

“I wanted to expose the desolate, silent, spacious and empty environment of the South Pole in a diametrically opposite and probably the most crowded, hectic, busy and noisy space in the world”, commented Azam. Passengers on the Ginza line platform in Shibuya, Tokyo and the Westbound Central Line in Liverpool Street, London can view the simultaneous poster displays as well as a time-lapse film on the public activity going on around them on the projection screens.

For more information, visit: or

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Selina Lo – Cover Story

The ‘Tungsten Butterfly’ – She sings, she dances and she’s a mean hand with a pair of broad swords! An Urban Life exclusive with rising starlet Selina Lo.

They say good things come in small packages, and at 5.4”, with her petite frame and cute disposition, Selina Lo is just that. Given that she is known for her martial arts skills, at first glance she doesn’t exactly hit you as a particularly intimidating figure. But don’t let the cuteness fool you, because underneath that beguiling fragility lies a powerhouse with over 16 years of hand-to-hand combat and weapons training behind her. Basically, she can kick your arse, and then some!

It’s hard not to warm to Selina instantly, as I found out when we first met on location for the cover shoot. With her bubbly personality and playful character, it didn’t take long for the crew to take shine to her either, which meant we had a lot of fun on set. So when we arranged to meet for coffee and to do the interview a few days later, it was smooth sailing right from the get-go.

We missed our first appointment due to two castings running late in to the day, so of course my first thought was to ask how they went, the day before we met. “They went well, thank you”, came the cryptic answer with a smile. And no amount of probing could get anything more out of her. Already fielding questions like a seasoned pro I thought, and quite rightly so, as it’s a busy time for the young actress who is about to get a lot of media attention from all quarters.

Having just returned from a four year stint working out in Asia, Selina has a better celebrity profile out there than here on her home turf in the UK. But that’s all about to change with the forthcoming release of the Scorpion King – The Book of the Dead (Dir: Roel Reiné), the third instalment of the Hollywood blockbuster, currently in post-production.

Born in Edgware, but having grown up in Hendon in North London, where she spent most of her childhood, Selina went through school completing her GCSE’s whilst practicing and competing in martial arts every weekend. She’s also a trained singer (grade 8) and has studied at LIPA (The Paul McCartney Academy for Performing Arts), Sylvia Young and the English National Theatre. “I got a scholarship from one of the best drama schools (GSA and Mount View), but when I got in, I thought it is what I wanted to do, but now I just want to get out there in to the real world.”

Click here to read the full article online, or subscribe for a hard copy.

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Adrian Holmes goes global

Best known for his roles on the small screen, Adrian Holmes is about to go global with a number of major Hollywood productions under his belt this year. Having made his mark in hit television series such as Supernatural, Human Target and Smallville, the British-born, Vancouver-based actor is now making his transition on to the big screen in Hollywood.

Currently in town promoting the release of Red Riding Hood, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity for a very last-minute interview with him for this edition. And, after a few frantic emails and phone calls between here and LA, we finally arranged a time to meet at the Criterion in Piccadilly.

Adrian Holmes was born in Wrexham, North Wales and lived in Liverpool until the age of five. It was then that his mother decided to join her twin brother and re-locate to Vancouver, which has been home ever since. At the age of 11, he was cast as the Lion in a school production of The Wizard of Oz, from where he caught the acting bug. “It was my first big production”, says Holmes. “And after the show this girl came up to me and asked for my autograph. I remember thinking it a little strange, as I’m not famous, but knew from then on that this is what I wanted to do. You could say I got the bug”.

Raised in a single-parent household until the age of nine, when his mother re-married, Holmes grew up being the middle child, with two younger half brothers and an older step brother and sister. “I went from having all the attention to having to fight for it” he says wistfully. You wouldn’t think he was the shy type, but during his childhood years he was and would do Michael Jackson and other impersonations to entertain friends and family to compensate for it. “Acting was like an outlet for me. It allowed me to express myself and come out of my shell. It gave me a voice when I felt I had none”.

Then high school and theatre school followed, taking acting roles in between, which started with his entry into television in 1991. But the route to academia was quite different, as Holmes graduated from nursing school in 2001, following in the family footsteps – there were many nurses in the family, including his mother. “God has a funny sense of humour because as soon as I graduated from nursing, my acting career really took off. But the reason I did nursing, even though my passion was in acting, was to have something to fall back on and have that peace of mind”.

Well, it seems safe to say that the nursing profession might not be his calling anytime soon, if recent roles are anything to go by. Amongst these is Frankie & Alice (Dir: Geoffrey Sax), which went on limited release in the US earlier this year. The plot revolves around a young woman with a multiple personality disorder, played by Academy Award winner Halle Berry, who also produces the film (and got a nomination for it at this year’s Golden Globes). “Yeah, I play her love interest which was incredible. Halle’s a great actress and I have always been a huge fan of hers, so to not only work with her, but to work with her so close was a great opportunity. And of course I get to kiss her, which not a lot of actors can say!” Indeed, and even though the part was fairly small, it was none the less integral to the plot and one that’s really sparked off a lot of interest. Not a bad thing, considering Halle Berry’s stature as a leading lady and the fact that 95% of the male population would give their right arm just to be near her, let alone kiss her.

Frankie & Alice is swiftly followed by Red Riding Hood (Dir: Catherine Hardwicke – Twilight, Thirteen), with Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, which goes on general release in the UK in mid-April (Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the producers). “I’m Playing the role of ‘Captain’, the right-hand man to Gary Oldman’s ‘Father Solomon’, the werewolf hunter”, says Holmes. “I had a lot of fun doing this and working with Gary Oldman, one of my favourite actors, who I admire and have a lot of respect for was fantastic. I learned so much from him, he brought a lot”.

One can’t help but make the obvious association of Red Riding Hood with Twilight, so aside from the shift from vampires to werewolves, what’s different about this film?

“Well, for one it’s a different story altogether. Yes Catherine Hardwicke is directing it, but the similarities stop there especially as it (Twilight) doesn’t have Gary Oldman in it! But really, it’s a classic fairytale by the Brothers Grim brought to life. You’ll have to go see it and make up your own mind”.

Click here to read the full article online, or subscribe for a hard copy.

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Baselworld 2011

TW Steel CEO Goliath

TW Steel presented the CEO Goliath at Basel, which has 15 models in its collection. The Dutch watch brand renowned for being ‘big in oversized watches’ have stepped up their game in refining their existing offerings and producing watches that feature a new level of comfort for the wearer which will ‘fit every wrist, no matter the size’. Features of the CEO Goliath range include the use of sandblasted cases on the models sporting PVD rose-gold plating and PVD black coating. Creating a superior matt case, combined with a shiny bezel, this look further distinguishes the watches adding to their appeal and enhanced qualities, which also include bold indexes and the 12 and 6 in striking roman numerals.

Bulova Accutron Conqueror Limited Edition

Bulova is celebrating its aeronautical legacy with the Basel launch of the Accutron Conqueror, with Sir Richard Branson as its ambassador. Featuring a Dubois-Depraz 31340 53-jewel automatic mechanical movement, this distinguished Swissmade chronometer incorporates a precision chronograph with fl yback function for immediate reset, as well as a 24-hour GMT indicator to allow simultaneous independent dual time-zone readings. Crafted of solid stainless steel, with a
smoothly curved tonneau case, engraved to capture the essence of the 1927 original, the Bulova Accutron Conqueror includes green luminous numerals and hands, as well as a Mississippi alligator strap. This limited edition timepiece is individually numbered on its caseback and includes a certificate of authenticity to attest to its position in a controlled production run of only 200 pieces.

MeisterSinger Pangaea Automatik

A classic MeisterSinger design, the Pangaea Automatik has no minute or second hands, or time zones or a date display. Stripped to the very basic level, this is a classic dress watch for those that have a different perception of time. Simple and very elegant. Comes in a stainless steel casing, with exhibition back and a 48-hour power reserve.

Raymond Weil Maestro Moon Phase

From the Maestro collection, this is Raymond Weil’s first Moon Phase complication with a mechanical movement, due for release later in the year. Equipped with the RW4500 mechanical movement with automatic winding, it has a power reserve of 38 hours. 39.5mm round polished steel case with a sapphire crystal back and black leather alligator-style strap.

Ebel Classic Sport

EBEL presents a new interpretation of its emblematic Ebel Classic Sport collection. The gleaming stainless steel exterior of this contemporary, sporting version is punctuated by touches of gold that offer a bright reminder of the brand’s expertise in creating two-tone watches. The men and women’s collections come in 18k gold and stainless steel and are available in 40mm and 27mm respectively.

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London Jewellery Week Special

This June, a week packed full of events will be taking place throughout the capital showcasing the best of emerging and established talent from the UK jewellery sector.

With plenty of activities and workshops being planned throughout the week, fashionistas and jewellery aficionados everywhere will get unprecedented access to designers and retailers showing off their wares to the trade and public alike.

There will be plenty of opportunities to meet with key designers and retailers – many of whom will be opening their doors giving unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the general public – as well as engage with, commission and buy direct from designers taking part.

Look out for our extensive coverage in the next edition in July; from the key events and VIP parties to award ceremonies, all taking place throughout the week. And of course we will also feature some amazing designers and their collections, so don’t forget to order your copy in advance!

In the meantime, we are running an exclusive competition for Urban Life readers in association with the organisers and sponsors of London Jewellery Week. Details and entry form on the opposite page to the right.

London Jewellery Week takes place between 6-12 June 2011.

For further information, list of participants and schedule of events, please log on to the website:

And don’t forget, we have three VIP prizes up for grabs with our competition with LJW! Click on the Competitions link on the navigation above to enter online…

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Urban Retreat’s Urban Spa


Urban Retreat Manchester was my next destination; a one-stop beauty shop and super-spa in the city centre. And seeing as it was my birthday weekend, where better to prepare for a night out than at this über glamorous location?

Urban Retreat is located on the first floor of Harvey Nichols Manchester. The spa is total luxury – allowing for time, space and comfort, away from the hustle and bustle of my favourite department store below. You will find some of the world’s great beauty brands at Urban Retreat, and they boast the very best, including Dermalogica, Shu Umuera, ESPA, Bumble and Bumble to name a few.

As a regular at Urban Retreat, I already knew the drill. After a few frantic phone calls to and fro, as the salon is always busy, we managed to get everything scheduled in on a busy Saturday afternoon. I chose to have the Spa Ritual (£80 for 1hr 30mins), as I needed to be in and out fairly quick with all the party preparations I was booked in for. It began with a relaxing foot soak, whilst my therapist discussed the treatment. Cocooned in warm towels I was treated to a lovely relaxing massage. Following this my skin was prepped, cleansed, steamed and moisturised with some fabulous products and then a serene scalp massage completed the treatment. I emerged glowing, feeling gorgeous and relaxed ready for my next treatments.

Every girl should know the importance of a well groomed brow and I swear by the technicians at Urban Retreat to get my eyebrows in tip-top condition. Expertly shaped brows can immediately lift your features, taking years off you, and frame one of your most important features – the eyes. The Lash and Brow Boutique uses a threading technique to groom the brows. Urban Retreat describe it as ‘the equivalent of a mini face-lift in less than 15 minutes’. I would have to agree, after 15 minutes in the chair, which is located discreetly in the corner of the salon. I emerge a little red and just ever so slightly sore, which was easily resolved with a little aloe gel. The redness quickly disappeared and my brows were back to their best once again. Urban Retreat offers a range of Brow and Lash treatments at The Boutique; including brow shaping and tinting, eyelash tints, lash perms and extensions. Prices range from £17 – £100…

Read the full review online here, or subscribe to the magazine here

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IBM – Next Five in Five

by Tony Morgan – Chief Innovation Officer Strategic Outsourcing, IBM

Each year, IBM produces its annual “Next Five in Five” report. This is based on five innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years. They are a glimpse into our future.

IBM’s “Five in Five” is based on market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from IBM Labs around the world that can make these innovations possible. This further strengthens the company’s reputation for investing in Research and Development, highlighted by the fact that the company’s inventors received a record 5,896 U.S. patents in 2010 alone, marking the 18th consecutive year it has topped the list of the world’s most inventive companies!

In the 2010 report, IBM believes that in the next five years, technology innovations will change our
lives in the following ways:

1: Batteries will breathe air to power our devices

Ever wish you could make your laptop battery last all day without needing a charge? Or what about a cell phone that charges itself while being carried in your pocket?

In the next five years, scientific advances in transistors and battery technology will allow your devices to last about 10 times longer than they do today – or better yet, batteries may disappear altogether in smaller devices.

2: Computers will help energize your city

Innovations in computers and data centres are enabling the excessive heat and energy that they give off to do things like heat buildings in the winter and power air conditioning in the summer. Can you imagine if the energy used by the world’s data centres could in turn be recycled for a city’s use?

In May 2010 in the heart of Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) went live with a 6 terabyte supercomputer called Aquasar, which uses hot-water to keep its chips cool. Why water? Well, water removes heat 4,000 times more efficiently than air.

IBM scientists designed a novel network of microfluidic capillaries, similar to the human circulatory system, which is attached directly to each processor in the supercomputer. Just like in your brain with oxygen and nutrients, the capillaries allow water to reach within microns of the semiconductor material itself. By having water flow so close to each chip, heat can be removed more efficiently and ensure that the operating temperatures of the processors remain well below the maximally allowed 85 degrees C. The output heat, which is 65°C, then gets pumped into the ETH university buildings to provide warmth.

3: Your commute will be personalised

Whether you live in a big city or a small town, traffic congestion is an issue especially during
rush hour. Today there are more than one billion cars on the road and that number will double
by 2020. In the U.S. alone, congestion costs about $78 billion a year and each of us spend about a week stuck in traffic every year.

The IBM “Smarter Traveller” research initiative is exploring how to build personalised,
congestion-free travel routes for commuters and help transportation agencies better
understand and manage traffic, ultimately creating safer roads with less gridlock and reducing carbon emissions. Also, researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind predictive analytics tool called the IBM Traffic Prediction Tool (TPT) that analyzes and combines multiple possible scenarios such as traffic accidents, commuter locations and expected travel start times that can affect commuters on highways, rail lines and urban roads. The TPT offers future traffic forecasts for up to 60 minutes in advance, giving transportation operations the ability to quickly respond to potential issues and solve issues before commuters get stuck in a traffic jam.

4: You’ll beam up your friends in 3-D

In the next five years science fiction won’t be so fictitious anymore, as 3-D interfaces like
those in the films let you interact with 3-D holograms of your friends in real time.

Films and TVs are already moving to 3-D, and as 3-D and holographic cameras get more
sophisticated and miniaturized to fit into cell phones, we’ll be able to interact with our
photos, browse the web, study, learn, work and chat with our friends in entirely new ways.

5: You won’t need a to be a scientist to save the planet

While you may not be a physicist, you are a walking sensor. In the next five years, sensors in your
phone, your car, your wallet and even your tweets will collect data that will give scientists a real-
time picture of your environment. You’ll be able to volunteer this data to fight global warming, save
endangered species or track invasive plants or animals that threaten ecosystems around the world.

In the next five years, IBM sees a whole class of “citizen scientists” emerging, using simple sensors that already exist in the world to create massive data sets for research. Simple observations such as when the first thaw occurs in your town, when the mosquitoes first appear and whether or not there’s running water where a stream should be – all this is valuable data that scientists don’t have in large sets today.

Click here to read the full article online, or subscribe for a hard copy.

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Vision of the Future Report Reveals Life in 20 Years

by Ray Hammond, Futurologist

Want to know what might be happening 20 years into the future? Vision correction specialist Ultralase has teamed up with Europe’s leading Futurist Ray Hammond to predict exactly what the world will look like in the next 20 years, to 2031.

The Vision of the Future report, marks the 20th anniversary of Ultralase; the UK’s first laser eye surgery specialist. Covering everything from tourism trends to medical innovations, the document offers a unique insight into our lives 20 years from now and the trends and innovations to look out for.

Tony Veverka, Chief Executive Officer at Ultralase, says: “It’s fascinating to see how the world has changed since we opened our first clinic in 1991. Back then, when we first brought laser eye surgery to the UK, many people saw the treatment as a futuristic practice that was out of reach to your everyday man on the street. I even remember it featuring on the Tomorrow’s World programme.

Thankfully, that’s not the case today. And with this in mind, we decided to commission a report to mark our anniversary and help us see the world 20 years from now. We also found it interesting to look back at the predictions made over 20 years ago to see what other technologies and trends managed to make it into mainstream society. As well as those that never quite caught on. As I’m sure you’ll agree, the results makes for very interesting reading”.

The report was created for Ultralase by Europe’s most experienced and widely published futurist Ray Hammond. With over 30 years of experience in predicting future trends, Ray has written over 16 books on the subject and today he shares observations on what’s still to come.

Looking forward 20 years: Five Predictions for the year 2031

1. Language barrier to become obsolete

US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan were amongst the first to trial real-time language translators
and there are a number of smartphone applications also entering the market that will translate
spoken words and phrases into 57 languages. However, in 20 years’ time real-time translation will be provided by wearable computers so that two people who do not understand each other’s language can have an easy conversation. This will mean that there is no longer any point in learning a foreign language unless it is for pleasure, or for cultural reasons.

2. I, Robot…Robotic carers and cleaners

Over five million robotic vacuum cleaners are already working in homes across the world. However, within the next 10 years, more general purpose domestic robots will start to arrive in homes and within 20 years, robots will be routinely providing care for the very young, the ill and the elderly. They will become our personal fitness trainers, companions and even ‘romance’ partners.

3. Glasses and contact lenses will become things of the past for more and more people

Laser eye treatment is already a widely accepted procedure to reduce or eliminate the need for
glasses or lenses and within 20 years it will become the “norm” with the majority of people opting
for freedom from their glasses and lenses. In addition, developments in the field will allow people
with previously untreatable prescriptions (either very high, complex or reading prescriptions) to
have a surgical alternative to their glasses or contact lenses. These treatments are currently being
developed, and include laser, intra-ocular lens, and corneal implant procedures.

4. Remote controlled motorways

Within 20 years many cars will be driven and steered by robot control systems that receive
instructions from roadside, cellular and satellite wireless systems. This technology has already been tested on a freeway in Los Angeles and, each year, the American Defense Agency organises a long-distance race for robot-controlled cars but by 2031 this technology will be widespread. In fact, many highways will only allow robot-controlled cars to travel.

5. Communication to get under everyone’s skin!

Early experiments with implanted subcutaneous communications devices have already taken
place with Professor Kevin Warwick, at Reading University, becoming the first British Citizen with
such an implant in 2005. By 2030, however, many more people will be wearing tiny computers/
communications devices (descended from today’s smartphones) in their jewellery/clothing and
some will even choose to have them implanted under their skin.

Click here to read the full article online, or subscribe for a hard copy.

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Privileged Life Black Card

The concept:
The Black Card is a privilege/loyalty card from Urban Life, aimed principally at our readers and subscribers based in and around Central London.

Membership benefits:
Membership will allow cardholders to enjoy a wide range of exciting and exclusive benefits, including discounts and special offers at a wide range of partner outlets. These include hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, retail outlets, galleries, private health clinics, spas and salons to start with. Basically any business that attracts a discerning clientele will be the target of our partnership department!

We will be announcing a lot of new partners in the coming months, so do keep an eye out for the member-only newsletters and regular updates on the website. Additional benefits include ad-hoc competitions which we will secure through the magazine, so there’ll be plenty of incentives to sign up for a membership!
In the meantime, the current list of our first-round of partners and the membership benefits they are offering card holders are listed on their corresponding ads in the magazine.

Partner benefits:

This is an alternative to the mass-market discount schemes currently proliferating the consumer sector. The aim of the Black Card is to provide access to businesses that want to target a high-end clientele, but without resorting to discounting their products and services to the extremes that we are seeing with numerous mass discount websites.

Our readers are not bargain hunters; therefore we are not looking for one-off gimmics. But what we are looking for is a longer term proposition, which encourages repeat business and customer loyalty, which is a win-win for all parties.

How to get involved:
If you are an individual interested in a membership, please visit the website and sign up online.

If you are a business owner and wish to discuss partnership opportunities, please call or email us using the contact details below:
Tel: 0871 989 8206

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Yohji Yamamoto at the V&A

Victoria & Albert Museum
12 March – 10 July 2011

Yohji Yamamoto by Koichi Inakoshi

One of the must-see exhibitions of the year that’s currently taking place is the Victoria and Albert museum’s retrospective on Yohji Yamamoto. Very little needs to be said of this enigmatic and celebrated designer, who has challenged, provoked and inspired the fashion world since his Paris debut over thirty years ago.

Yamamoto’s visionary designs will be exhibited on mannequins spread amongst the treasures of the V&A, thus creating a dialogue between the designer’s work and the various spaces in which they’ll be shown. The exhibition is designed by Yamamoto’s long-time collaborator, Masao Nihei, and will showcase over 60 garments from his womenswear and menswear collections, which will also be accompanied by a mixed-media timeline showing excerpts from his fashion shows, films and performances.

Yohji Yamamoto, born in Tokyo in 1943, is widely regarded as an avant-garde designer, who has constantly pushed the boundaries of accepted convention in fashion. His collaborations span across the fashion and luxury divide, including Hermés, Mikimoto, Elton John, Jean-Michel Jarre and of course the film world, with Kitano Takeshi for films such as Dolls and Brother.

Admission price: £7 (free for V&A members). For more information, visit:

Photography by Nick Knight, Art Direction by Peter Saville

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A Vision of the Future: Home Entertainment in 2020

by Dr. James Bellini, Futurologist

In the past decade, advances in technology have changed our lives dramatically. Since 2000 we’ve seen the introduction of things that we now take for granted as part of everyday life, such as USB sticks, mp3 players, Skype, Sky+, smart technology and social networking, none of which were available only ten years ago. The next few years are set to progress even more quickly when it comes to technological advances. Electrical specialist Comet has teamed up with futurologist James Bellini to take a look at what the future of home entertainment may look like by 2020.

James Bellini says; “In this digital high-tech age, a time span of ten years is a long time. And, over the next decade, things will continue to develop significantly and many remarkable innovations are likely. Holographic science will come of age and the development of brain to device connectivity will change the way we live day to day life.”

Bob Darke, Comet’s Commercial Director, is excited about the future: “3D and smart technology is currently the biggest innovation in the home entertainment arena but future developments will go far beyond this – we will be networked to our TVs emotionally and cooking will be taken to a whole new level. The world, in all its multi-sensory forms will literally come to us, just the way we want it. It will give staying in a whole new meaning.”

Augmented reality in the home: see what you want to see

Wearing 3D glasses to watch television and films are already widely accessible. Advances in technology mean that by 2020 the most adventurous technology consumers will have grown tired of 3D specs and will be wearing active contact lenses instead. The lens will be a general purpose display that sits in your eye all day. You will just pop it in your eye in the morning and take it out at the end of the day, allowing you to get entertainment at your fingertips. Contact lenses to view moving images and physically feeling the pain and emotion of characters in films will radically change how we watch our favourite TV programmes and movies in the future.

Information and entertainment goes experiential and ambient

As the formats through which we view movies change, the content will change to adapt to it too. So it’s not just about 3D, holographic and augmented reality experiences, it’s also about what we will watch once we have those capabilities. Once viewing goes this experiential with emotional and responsive feeds, the experience will broaden to being able to jump up on buildings with Spiderman. It will be as if you are a character within the film.


Molecular gastronomy would have seemed an unlikely concept only ten years ago before it was used by a celebrity chef. Advances in cooking technology will mean that by 2020 we could be looking at having molecular ovens in our homes that will allow us to cook in a completely different way, by allowing us to use chemical processes to prepare our food. Furthermore, holographic technology will also be extended to the kitchen, meaning that it will be possible to have our favourite celebrity chef ‘virtually’ standing next to us to help us along with our mealtime preparations.


Already, the prevalence of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype have
changed the way we communicate with our friends, family and colleagues. Telepresence technology, which is currently used for the purpose of work conferences will become cheaper and more accessible, meaning it will start to become available for the home. Again the application of holographic enhancement will mean your friends or family will be virtually present in your own living room.

Click here to read the full article online, or subscribe for a hard copy.

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Future Concepts

Since the dawn of time, man has been on a constant quest to innovate. Advances in science,
technology and mass communications are ensuring we ‘have it all’. Whichever way we look at it -
whether out of necessity or luxury – We are fortunate enough to be living in a time when it seems
that perhaps we do.

Whatever our hearts desire, we can have it at the click of a finger; or rather, a button. We are living
in a more connected world for sure, and innovation is constantly knocking on our doors with ever
more ferocity, giving us the ability to interact, communicate, experience things in more ways than
ever before.

Our lifestyles have changed, along with our desires for what is important to our daily lives. We spend an unacceptably unhealthy time in front of the computer and we are online pretty much at all hours of the day and night, which as recent as ten years ago would have been frowned upon, but which now is pretty much a given. In fact it would raise eyebrows if one wasn’t!

We can sit back and pretty much take care of almost everything that once demanded legwork,
without having to move an inch. We can order our groceries, do our banking, pay our bills and
go shopping without moving from the comfort of our sofas. Why, we even do all our socialising
increasingly online, which is raising some interesting questions about life/work boundaries and how we interact with one another away from the virtual world. So where is all this taking us as a society? Are we really free to do what we want, or have we become slaves to the very technology that is supposed to ‘free’ us?

I am of course touching very lightly on a debate that is raging amongst the intelligentsia. It’s a
profound and relevant subject matter of our times, which warrants credible input from authoritative
individuals. Something I have been meaning to engage in for a while, and which I will invite creative thinkers and respected ‘futurologists’ to contribute to in future editions.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading these next few pages as much as I have from our first
round of contributors, with whom I am pleased to start the ball rolling with some interesting
innovations. Some are already here, whilst others are in advanced stages of research. As Albert
Einstein once said, “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough”.

See IBM – Next Five in Five

See A Vision of the Future: Home Entertainment in 2020

See Vision of the Future Report Reveals Life in 20 Years

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Geneva Motor Show 2011

With so many national, European and world premieres, the Geneva Motor Show lived up to its promise of another blockbuster year for the global automotive industry. Patrick Anderson picks and highlights some of the most hyped models presented at the show…

As the first of the main international motor shows each year, Geneva never fails to impress – from new models and the latest concept cars to European and World premieres. Visitor numbers went up this year; in fact they surpassed all expectations with the total number standing at 735,000, a 6% rise on last year’s figures. As is the growing trend, the electric cars were out in force with many now in actual production, several of which are now on sale in the UK. THINK, a Norwegian electric car was one of the newer vehicles on display as was the Toyota EV based on the iQ electric car, as well as Nissan’s sleek electric concept; Sflow.

For concept cars Hyundai showed the i40, Curb and Velostar. Other manufacturers showing their versions included Mazda’s concept SUV the Minage, Renault’s Captur and the Saab Phoenix. In the hybrid categories we saw the Peugeot 908 Hybrid 4 (first shown in Paris), and Volvo with their V60, also a diesel hybrid. Rolls Royce showed their 102EX, a one-off fully electric-powered Phantom, which was a sight to behold. Morgan re-launched a 21st century version of their 3 wheeler and Land rover showed their e-range 4WD vehicle. Amongst the exotics making their world premieres and turning heads were the new Ferrari FF, Jaguar XKR-S2, Koenigsegg Agera R, Lamborghini Aventador, Pagani Huayra and Aston Martin who showed off the new Virage and Virage Volante models. There were of course scores of others, but too many to list here. I will be bringing you more on these in upcoming editions, so here are some of my favourites in the meantime…

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Hot Lab – Under The Spotlight

Yachting is a business like no other. The glamour, the glitz and the jet-set lifestyle that goes with it is what makes it so tantalisingly appealing.

To many, they are a distant
dream. Whilst to others just another of their many homes, to relax, entertain and have fun in. And, as with any home-proud owner, their yachts need to be designed and fitted with the same care and attention to detail as their residences. In this, our first ‘soft’ feature on yachting; we are talking to Hot Lab, an award-winning boutique design agency, about their experiences in designing yachts. This Q&A will shed some light into what’s involved in the whole process, from concept to the finished product and delivery.

Further down the line we will be focussing on more extensive coverage of this fascinating business, with guest writers and more profiles of companies involved in all aspects of the yachting industry. Hot Lab Studio was formed in Milan back in 2004, when three designers; Michele Dragoni, Antonio Romano and Enrico Lumini decided to join forces and form a partnership. Armed with a working
knowledge of the luxury automotive and interior design sectors, they decided to take their expertise and move into yachting, and haven’t looked back since. Working closely with private clients and shipyards, they have produced some exceptional designs and won numerous awards for the projects they have worked on over the years. We recently caught up with Antonio Romano, one of the partners and spokesperson of the company, and posed some questions to him…

Urban Life: what made you decide to make the transition from automotive to yacht design?

Antonio Romano: The idea from the beginning was to have our own studio, since in automotive design you mostly work in-house for big car brands. The work involved in yacht design is also much more complete. You play with exterior shapes, interior design, fittings
and decorations and so on. We’re talking about architecture that moves, or floats.

UL: How do you approach each project and what steps are involved once you’ve taken on a brief?
AR: First of all we have a meeting to talk about the brief. The best of our clients are private yacht owners, so they usually give us an idea of style, dimension and budget. The first step is to then determine the competitors in that range after which we design the GA (general arrangements), which are then constantly updated. At the same time we start on the first exterior
sketches, side views and perspective and we plan several internal meetings amongst our team. And when we arrive at an interesting solution we plan a second meeting with the client to receive their first impressions and feedbacks. If we’re in line with the client’s idea, we then start to do the first 3D models and after that several realistic renders. If we’re also involved in the interior design, we show some materials, colors and style suggestions, after that we get on with our interior design proposal.

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Baselworld 2011 / 2

Boucheron Héra Tourbillon

The high-jewellery and high-watchmaking Héra Tourbillon bracelet watch. The bracelet is in white gold set with diamonds, sapphires and Paribia tourmalines. The Girard-Perregaux three gold bridges tourbillion movement is set with diamonds and Paribia tourmalines. A striking piece of objet d’art from the ‘Audacious – Cabinet of Curiosities’ collection.

Oris Carlos Coste Limited Edition – Cenote Series

In 2010, Carlos Coste established a new Guinness World Record for freediving, by completing a 150 metre underwater swim using no apparatus through Dos Ojos, a colossal cenote (cave network) that twists for 31 miles under the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. The Venezuelan freediver was armed with only a torch and a monofin when he made the death-defying dive. Oris have honoured this great achievement by creating a special limited edition of 2000 pieces. The case is made out of titanium with ceramic top ring and superluminova inlay. Pushers and screw-down crown are stainless steel and water resistant to 50 bar (500 metres).

DeWitt Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon

The Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon marked a new era for DeWitt’s watch making capabilities, as the DW8028 movement was assembled entirely in-house. Each art-deco inspired watch has a little plate, placed on the barrel-bridge and bears the signature of the master watchmaker, who is responsible for the assembly, adjustment and testing of the watch from A to Z. The black anthracite face contrasts with the creamy coloured circle appliqué in palladium, with the numerals, hands and central construction in rose gold.

Hermès Arceau Pocket Promenade de Longchamp

This exquisite, one-off pocket watch is hand-engraved with a natural grey-blue mother-of-pearl dial, with the carriage and horseman in gold using the relief modelling technique. The motif is inspired by the ‘Promenade de Longchamp’ silk carré designed by Philippe Ledoux. Driven by an Hermès H1928 movement, it comes with a 55- hour power reserve. In 750 (18ct) white gold and alligator cord-strap.

The JwlryMachine: Boucheron’s interpretation of MB&F’s Horological Machine No 3 (HM3)

When the first HM3 model was released in 2009, it sent shockwaves throughout the fine watchmaking community for its bold and unconventional design. A year later MB&F collaborated with the house of Boucheron to create another masterpiece; a haute-joaillerie version of the HM3, and what a result! The three-dimensional jewelled owl is presented here in 18k red gold with pink tourmaline, rose quartz, diamonds and pink sapphires. The owl even has a ‘beating’ heart, thanks to the swings of the solid-gold battle-axe-shaped rotor beneath the translucent stone.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II

Rolex unveiled five new models from their flagship Oyster collection at Basel, including the Yacht-Master II. This revolutionary regatta chronograph is equipped with an exclusive programmable countdown with a mechanical memory and this new version is the first Professional watch in the Oyster collection to be available in ‘EVEROSE ROLESOR’ – an exclusive combination of the 904L steel superalloy and 18 ct EVEROSE gold. The model’s 4160 movement, designed and developed by Rolex, is fitted with a PARACHROM hairspring, 10 times more resistant to shocks and insensitive to magnetic fields. The countdown is operated by a column wheel and a vertical clutch. A number of micro-components in this unique movement are produced by UV-LiGA – a new technology, which enables the production of components whose fineness or geometry makes them impossible to manufacture by traditional means.

Tag Heuer Mikrotimer Flying 1000 Concept Chronograph

The Mikrotimer Flying 1000 Concept Chronograph, the world’s first mechanical wrist chronograph to measure and display 1/1,000th of a second, sets a new milestone in mechanical precision. It is 125 times more accurate than most of the mechanical chronographs on the market — thanks to a heart beating at the unbelievable speed of 3,600,000 beats-per-hour. If the Heuer CARRERA MIKROGRAPH 1/100th Second Chronograph is to watchmaking what walking on the moon is to space history, then the Mikrotimer Flying 1000 Concept Chronograph is the equivalent of the first manned landing on Mars!

Jorg Hysek Slyde

The Slyde from avant-garde watchmaker Jorg Hysek is a great example of the dynamic fusion of technology and luxury watchmaking at its best. SLYDE takes the underlying principle of the smartphone – the ability to change applications by merely sliding a finger over a tactile screen – and adapts it to the world of 21st century watchmaking. This revolutionary display means that, by simply sliding across the watch screen, the user can generate an unlimited variety of timepieces on the wrist – creating a range of ‘different’ watches within a single timepiece using a range of virtual modules.

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Edouard Martinet

Edward Martinet

The artist - Edward Martinet

Sladmor Gallery, 32 Bruton Place, W1J 6NW
4th May – 10th June 2011

The Sladmor Gallery in Mayfair will be hosting a month-long sculptural exhibition of insects by Edouard Martinet from next month. A twenty-first century ‘Animalier’, Martinet creates a range of unusual and unique works of art using only discarded car parts with astonishing life-like results.

Each sculpture is meticulously assembled, polished and finished to such a high standard, using a variety of ‘found’ materials, that they almost resemble the real thing at first glance from afar. Martinet lives and works in Rennes, near Brittany in France, where he teaches art at L’institut des Arts Appliqués.

For more information, visit:

Dragon Fly

Dragon Fly

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Couach Arion 3700 Fly

Chantier Naval Couach (CNC) unveils the first of their37m super yachts, Arion.

The 3700 Fly, fitted by Ken freivokh, was recently delivered to her owners following a presentation to local dignitaries and the media in the historic quays of Bordeaux, France. Arion is the first collaboration between CNC and Freivokh, as well as the first yacht to come out of the shipyard in 2011.

Eric Robert Peillard, President of Couach says; “Arion pays homage to the quality of teamwork undertaken over the last two years. It was with pleasure that our office took on board the inspirational ideas of a celebrated designer to deliver an outstanding bespoke interior commissioned by a discerning client. The end result is a stunning yacht of rare beauty, from the aesthetic finishes of each cabin to the quality of craftsmanship throughout. A real work of art…”

The next project is the 50m 5000 Fly, due for launch in September 2011.

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Home spa products


Spas are where ESPA products began, and remain an integral part of their product range. Each product revitalises the face and body, providing the ultimate indulgence. ESPAS new formulations boast over 99% natural ingredients which work with the skin; delivering soft, smooth and beautifully supple results. ESPA Hydrating Cleansing Milk cleanser soothes and hydrates
tired skin, gently lifting make-up and impurities. Sweet almond oil and soya bean oils lightly moisturise whilst rose geranium, marshmallow and camomile sooth the skin. Use with the Floral Spafresh Toner, a pure and gently soothing naturally comforting tonic, which rejuvenates, refreshes and hydrates.

Treat yourself to a long languid soak and rediscover your emotional equilibrium at home using the Restorative Bath Oil, which contains sweet orange, rose and lavender to help relax, comfort and lift the spirits, whilst the sweet almond oil works it’s magic, deeply nourishing the skin. The palma rosa tones and firms, for beautifully smooth and thoroughly moisturised silky skin.

Hydrating Cleansing Milk: £22.50, Floral Spafresh Toner: £22.50 and Restorative Bath Oil: £42.


The luxurious, replenishing and purifying Ocean Memory Deep Sea Scrub is a perfect home spa treatment, which combines a powerful blend of marine ingredients to cleanse, soothe and rehydrate the body.

Thalgo are leaders in marine beauty; their home spa scrub uses volcanic sand, mineral salts and algae to leave the skin smooth, soft, revitalised and hydrated. Used once or twice a week this spa-in-a-jar will leave skin with the subtle scent of citrus fruit, algae bloom, mandarin, bergamot and iris, leaving the skin with an all over glow.


From the famous Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden, the Facial In-a-Box is a step-by-step 30 minute spa facial treat that can be
taken anywhere. Designed to be used in conjunction, each product is enhanced by the other. Having taken the time to apply this facial whilst relaxing in a candlelit tub, my skin looked and felt firmer and visibly younger. A real treat!

Sanctuary Youth Boosting Facial In-a-Box (£16.34)
The Sanctuary Covent Garden:


The luxury Bath Shower Gel is loaded with precious plant extracts, including aloe vera, grapefruit, camellia, ginger, rose and coconut to cleanse the body from top to toe. Use with the Heavenly Hydration Salt Brushing Scrub for positively glowing skin all over. The harmonious blend of pure Dead Sea Salts, vitamin E and coconut oil, with a citrus aroma, make a wonderfully pampering body exfoliation experience. Perfect for a relaxing yet energising home spa experience. Afterwards skin can be further nourished with the Hydration Mineralising Body Lotion.

As an extra treat there are also six Heavenly Hydration Body Treatment Oils to choose from. 100% natural aromatherapy oils including geranium, hazelnut, peppermint, clary sage, geranium and rosemary. These naturally scented oils deeply nourish skin
and relax the body, aiding the appearance of slackened skin, improve circulation and have a toning and tightening effect.

Spa Find Sculpted Silhouette Body Contouring Gift Set £38.00


The Cowshed range was born at the Cowshed Spa in Babington House, Soho House’s sister spa in Somerset. The range of allnatural,
therapeutic botanically based products all contain a herbal infusion sourced from the walled garden at Babington House. We love Cowlick gentle shampoo. It’s mild, refreshing and freshly fragranced – like summer meadows. With 100% natural lemon, lavender and rosemary essential oils that keep the hair and scalp in great condition, it works to soothe the soul and still the mind, and leaves hair super-soft and shiny especially when used with the Saucy Cow Softening Conditioner.

This conditioner is revitalising and refreshing, containing shineimparting plant extracts and essential oils that leave hair super shiny, smelling naturally clean and alluring. The evening primrose oil protects and nourishes the hair, leaving hair baby soft. Cowlick Gentle Shampoo and Saucy Cow Softening Conditioner are suitable for use on all hair types.

Cowlick Gentle Shampoo, 300ml: £14.00.
Saucy Cow Softening Conditioner, 300ml: £16.00.


For striking spa results in the comfort of your own home Dove Spa De Dimple Minimising Sculpting Serum is a targeted two week treatment for unwanted lumps and bumps. Used twice daily the Micro-Algae Ferment enhances skin regeneration and evens out the skin’s surface. Coleus Forskohlii Root Extract and Caffeine work together reducing accumulation of fat deposits for more supple and smooth skin. Carefully formulated to improve skin’s appearance and your body confidence.

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Ragdale Hall


After a long harsh winter nothing works better than a spot of pampering for a little pick-me-up. And, where better to recharge ones batteries than at the award-winning Ragdale Hall, in Leicestershire.

It was the perfect choice, offering an unrivalled range of spa treatments to satisfy every whim. But of course, this wasn’t my first trip to Ragdale. In fact
the last time I was there was probably a decade ago, so whilst planning a little trip up north to Manchester, I decided I needed some me time and booked in for the Overnight Reviver Break (£190). This was just what I needed to get body and soul back on an even keel.

I was warmly welcomed by the super friendly staff, who greeted me like an old friend. Conscious that I was super stressed out, and it showed, they couldn’t do enough to help get me settled in. Once changed, I headed straight for the pool area and took a swim and a steam. It had been a beautiful warm spring day, and later as the sun was setting, I took a stroll in the beautiful grounds. Perhaps it was the fact that I was out of London or the tranquillity of Ragdale, but whatever it was, I was already feeling relaxed and happy again, albeit absolutely exhausted. Hungry and tired I decided to take dinnerin my room that evening, a delightful smoked salmon salad, and cosied up in bed with a lovely book and an old movie. Finally some peace and quiet.

Following a healthy breakfast at 8am, I hit the gym. It was fairly busy, but staff were on hand to assist when needed. In the past, Ragdale has been renowned for its amazing menu of treatments, yet these days it is working hard to get its name on the map as a top fitness destination. The fitness class timetable boasts everything from hatha yoga to hula hooping, pompom workouts to pilates and everything in between. There are over eighteen classes per day in two separate studios, so there is something for everyone. In addition, there’s a dedicated exercise pool and a number of aqua fitness classes are held there, although more specialist private sessions can also be arranged.

After a good workout, it was time for the first of my treatments (Ragdale’s beauty and treatment menu must be one of the best in the world. Products used include all the top tier brands you would expect to find in a high-end spa of such calibre). I was given a choice of essential oils by my therapist. I chose relaxing, given the circumstances and within a few minutes I was in the zone. Deeply relaxed, at times almost asleep, my therapist worked my tired muscles and eased the stresses and strains of the previous weeks. A cocktail of essential oils were applied to my body, along with unique massage techniques. I emerged energised and glowing from top to toe…

Read the full review online here, or subscribe to the magazine here

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Harrods – Millionaire Gallery

The Godfather

The Godfather

Harrods have recently opened their newest department, which specialises exclusively in celebrity and historical memorabilia. Whether it’s a rare and original document with Abraham Lincoln’s signature, Elvis Presley’s autograph on a vintage copy of Photoplay magazine or the more recent hand-signed publicity master-print of Black Swan by Academy Award winner Natalie Portman or The King’s Speech by our very own Colin Firth, another Academy Award winner at this year’s Oscars, it’s all available from the store that has everything.

If you ever thought about acquiring something that has a historical significance or association with your favourite movie star, musician or politician, and didn’t quite know how to go about it, then this is where you should be heading! But don’t let the name scare you off, as not everything is going to cost you a million, in fact we didn’t see anything remotely that costly on our recent visit (but it’s still early days, so we’ll see what turns up!).

There’s plenty to choose from and suit all budgets, especially with prices ranging from a mere couple of hundred pounds to the thousands, so there is ample choice to start that collection you’ve always wanted. All items come ready-framed, along with certificates of authenticity, so all the verification headaches are taken care of. You just have to pick and choose and have it delivered to take pride of place in your cabinet or wall…

For more information, visit:

Harrods Millionaire Gallery

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