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BILLIONAIRE 08 - The Aesthete Issue

BILLIONAIRE is an award-winning magazine not available on newsstands, but offered to a distinguished group of the most powerful, influential, high net worth readers across the world. Join them to receive special subscriber-only invitations. We go the extra mile to report on important topics such as the future of technology, world health, philanthropy and humanitarian work. We bring you incredible travel experiences, the very best in elegant living, the arts, culture and craftsmanship. We exclusively interview some of the world’s most illustrious billionaires, from Ted Turner to Nicky Oppenheimer to Joe Gebbia to Mo Ibrahim, about the problems keeping them up at night, their passions and projects. We speak to some of the planet’s most inspiring change-makers, from Jimmy Carter to Buzz Aldrin to Kofi Annan, about their visions for the future and how they are making the world a better place. Each quarterly issue of BILLIONAIRE is carefully curated with unique content that other magazines simply do not offer.

Highend Pte Ltd
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min
a word from the ceo

The perfectly imperfect — that’s what I seek out. As a young child, my friend’s father, Mr Webb, arrived at sports day at our boarding school outside of Johannesburg in a restored Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. I had never seen a vehicle quite so beautiful before. He set about telling me with passion of how it had been hand-built from sheets of metal, hammered into shape, and how each grill was crafted by a single craftsman. He pointed out that although it didn’t appear as such, there was in fact nothing perfect about this car and impressed upon me how I had to embrace the imperfection of what is made by hand. What he said coloured my entire outlook from that day forward. My dear Austrian friend Markus Scheer, a maestro of shoemaking, is…

2 min
editor’s note

As humans we are programmed to seek out the beautiful because it brings us pleasure. Admiring an exquisitely prepared meal, a finely honed Dutch masterpiece or just watching a gorgeous sunset — these things bring colour to our lives. Aesthetics is inherently about a communication of order — a set of visual cues that communicate forethought and sound design. Aesthetics is an expression of pride and creativity over and above the basic functionality of an object. It’s a way to elevate mind and purpose. In our social-media-obsessed world it is easy to confuse aesthetics with materialism. But the opposite is the case. True aesthetics is not a love of excess. It is an act of slowing down and taking time to appreciate. It is the opposite of mass production; the antidote to…

1 min
redefining space

Some of the world’s greatest spaces we see today have been born out of buildings that have been reimagined in new and innovative ways. The latest designs do not necessarily need to be new-build structures. We are surrounded by exciting architectural opportunities and these can be achieved by simply applying ideas of potential and possibilities to beautiful existing infrastructure and structures found within our cities, both below and above ground. Urban structures around the world are undergoing huge regeneration, and this redefinition allows us to see history through the layers of refurbishment to produce something exciting and modern, yet still connected to the past. Cities such as London and New York are pushing the boundaries, finding inventive ways to use existing infrastructure and turn it into spaces for today. Look at…

4 min
coming to life

Light projected from a ceiling defines neat circles of light on the floor as visitors move around it. Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s vision comes to life: towering cones of light spread across the dark space, creating a continuous dialogue between movement and stillness, darkness and light, people and space. Clad in mirrors, the surrounding walls create a multisensory experience further enhanced by bespoke music and fog. Perception and movement are key to understanding Forest of Lights, the temporary architectural installation that he unveiled (for Swedish fashion brand COS) last April at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. “My forest consists of countless, immaterial light cones: filling the emptiness, these towering lights pulsate; they constantly undergo transience of state and flow. People meander through the forest, as if lured by the charm…

5 min
chicago’s changing face

In Chicago, St Patrick’s Day is a vibrant affair. Every year since 1962, the River Chicago is dyed an astonishingly vivid green for the Gaelic celebration, drawing crowds of 400,000 to toast with Irish whisky and pints of Guinness. It’s a light-hearted tradition underlying the river’s murky past. In the mid-1950s, Chicago’s river was practically an open sewer, a dumping ground that ran through the heart of the emerging city. In an attempt to identify the source of the pollution, a chemical green dye was poured into the river to show up problem areas. But the issue was never properly addressed and Chicago’s river remained an unloved scar on the face of the city until the last decade, which has seen its rubbish-strewn, inaccessible riverbank renovated and reclaimed into The Riverwalk, a…

4 min
green-sky thinking

With his flowing, emerald locks, his signature green-and-khaki shirt and his love of jade jewellery, Patrick Blanc resembles one of the exotic plants in the vertical gardens he is famous for. It is not had to see why the French botanist is called ‘The Green Man’ by his friend and regular collaborator, architect Jean Nouvel. “My green hair started off as a joke,” he laughs. “Everyone thinks it is because of my job but it was when I met my partner in 1986, before I became famous. We dared each other to dye our hair for one week — his blue and mine green — but I ended up keeping it for 30 years.” As Blanc talks animatedly, he rakes his hair with inch-long, pointed fingernails, turned a greenish hue from…