THE BABY PIANO BY BASED UPON AND GOLDFINCH
If your keyboard talent extends beyond a basic rendition of Chopsticks why not invest a spare half million on this extraordinary piano? The Baby, designed by London design studio Based Upon, is a spectacular hand-sculpted artwork that looks like a collaboration between Zaha Hadid and the aliens who engineered the lozenge-shaped spaceships in Arrival. Hand-finished metals and seductive resins reflect the artist’s studies of the earth’s surface, while the instrument’s tri-oval top elevates – appearing to twist away from its base – to reveal a baby grand piano. The team at the Goldfinch piano specialists who worked with the Based Upon studio used the finest solid spruce from the Valle de Fiemme in the north Italian Alps, employing treasured, time-honoured techniques to precisely engineer the tonal heart of the piece. Price? £475,000. We’re not talking about minor keys here.
PORSCHE DESIGN HUAWEI MATE 9
Announcing a new mobile device as “the best smartphone ever made” is quite a claim, but the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 is an undeniably handsome unit. With an ergonomic True Curve Design, inspired by the natural shape of the human hand, the phone’s elegant aesthetic is a combination of innovative black Gorilla Glass and a black brushed, aluminum unibody. Listening pleasure is boosted by hi-fi standard speakers while the battery will power up for two day use in record time. The integrated Leica camera boasts a 12-megapixel colour lens and a 20-megapixel monochrome lens – unique Leica Summarit dual-lens technology that guarantees sharp and colourful pictures in 20/12MP resolution. The phone’s retail price – estimated to be around €1,400 – is convincingly Porsche-ish as well.
PETER SAVILLE GLASSWARE
Famous for creating the album cover art for the likes of New Order and Joy Division, graphics legend Peter Saville has now turned his hand to the delicate art of glassware. Collaborating with the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), Saville’s elegant pieces – think bottles, flasks and vases – are styled after the kind of laboratory vessel that will be instantly familiar to anyone who did GCSE chemistry at school. Each of the MSI + Peter Saville Lab Glassware range is etched with hazard-style diagonal stripes that reference the corporate identity of Manchester’s Factory Records, co-founded by Saville back in 1979, and the iconic Hacienda nightclub dance floor.
AI WEIWEI BICYCLE
It’s quite common for obsessive cyclists to hang their silly money, carbon fibre two-wheelers on the wall, displayed like pieces of art. Now the perennially controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has subverted that concept, putting 60 handmade, stainless steel ‘Forever’ bicycles (formerly part of the recent New York exhibition Ai Weiwei: According to What?) up for auction back in October 2016. “I thought they would be a good public sculpture because people relate to bikes,” explains Ai Weiwei. “They’re designated for the body and operated with your body. There are few things today that are like that.” Each stamped, signed and numbered fully functional bike, detailed with an image of the artist’s face on the seat, was estimated to sell for a cool $25,000 to $35,000. Unridden, and free of punctures, they are now worth even more.
At the Mayfair-based luxury customising outfit Bamford, proprietor George Bamford has a saying; “If you can imagine it, we can create it.” It’s a no-limits personalisation doctrine that has seen the Bamford experts enameling bezels, painting dials and carbon-coating bracelets on Rolex watches for the likes of Eric Clapton and Viscount David Linley. Now the Bamford Watch Department’s original signature colour scheme – black-on-black complemented by flashes of ‘Kingfisher’ blue – has found its way on to a special custom edition Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed. Super high gloss Beluga paint for the exterior with various stainless steel ‘brightware’ details – the distinctive ‘Speed’ wing vents, the badges on the bonnet and the boot and the iconic matrix grille – darken down to Gotham-ish tones. The resulting ‘darkware’ matches the finish of Bamford’s watches, while meeting the standards of toughness and corrosion resistance required of all Bentley exteriors. Inside, the moody theme continues: bullseye air vents, bezels and controls are all replaced with Bamford darkware. Even the car’s wheels – a bespoke design based on the 21” Mulliner Driving Specification wheels – are black. George Bamford himself insisted on installing a bespoke watch case finished in carbon fibre in the rear passenger compartment. Well, of course he did…
The style-conscious and time-poor will be intrigued by Dappad, a slick personal shopping service who will do the hard work for you – and do it well. They’re appealingly picky about who they work with, citing quality craftsmanship and thoughtful design as traits potential garbs must posses. Even better than their careful curation is their commitment to environmental and social responsibility, meaning they make a point of partnering with charities or brands who are keen to make a difference. New clothes without the effort and the guilt? Yes please.