Time(less) is everything

Striking, robust and durable – this is what distinguishes the «Khaki Field» collection from Hamilton. And the two new models really have style.

Made for life’s adventures, Hamilton’s «Khaki Field» collection is about more than just timepieces. It is known for its robust military design and impresses with its functionality and minimalism. And the two new models continue this trend, or rather the tradition of this watch collection. The manufacturer wants them to be a reliable companion for their wearer. And that’s exactly why we rely on timeless design and innovative materials.

The new Khaki Field Titanium is available in two colours. An elegant, bold matt black – with PVD-coated titanium providing the foundation. Or brushed titanium, which brings out the blue dial to its best advantage. The question you have to ask yourself is: do you like the classic look or prefer it to be a little daring? Both models are available with a diameter of 38 or 42 centimetres. The Super-LumiNova® coating on the dial ensures that no matter what the weather or the time of day, you will always be clear about what time it is.

Hamilton itself can look back on more than 130 years of experience. The company, founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and now part of the Swatch Group, launched the world’s first electric watch on the market in 1957. And the first LED watch was also a pioneer in its field. The simple timepieces were once also used to synchronise rail traffic. At the same time, they have made it their task to write film history. The brand’s custom-made products do not always play the main role in various Hollywood blockbusters, but they do play an important supporting role. And that’s what the Khaki Field collection is all about. Always involved, but you always play the main role.

Photos Copyrights: Hamilton SA

Above the rooftops of Rome

Although still in its infancy, the Palazzo Naiadi Rome Hotel, which belongs to the Antara Group, is a real grande dame. A stylish apperance paired with an abundance of elegance …

The «Palazzo Naiadi Rome Hotel» is celebrating its first birthday this autumn. And is looking back on a successful first year. Located directly on the Piazza della Republica, the roof terrace not only offers a great view of the Eternal City, but above all of the impressive fountain, which forms the focus of the square designed as a plaza. A magnificent sight even during the day, the building becomes a highlight in the evening especially – in the truest sense of the word. The semicircular building from the late 19th century is illuminated by hundreds of lights that artfully highlight the impressive facade.

And the inside of the hotel also impresses with charm and, above all, impressive details. The suites in particular offer everything you could hope for on a city trip to the Italian capital.

A whirlpool, your own steam bath, a terrace for the first aperitif in the evening and also fitness equipment. And in the two presidential suites you will even find your own kitchen. Although you have to be honest: if you don’t discover culinary gems in the wonderful little alleyways of Rome, you haven’t tried hard enough.

Bella Italia – just enjoy yourself absolutely

Of course, you can also avoid a long trek and visit one of the in-house restaurants or bars. A glass of champagne is recommended here in the «lobby bar» – decorated in Art Nouveau style. Romantics are welcomed to dine in the «SEEN by Olivier – Posh Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge Bar». And because that’s not enough, the gourmet restaurant «Ineo» was started after the opening as another «luogo piacevole». Only 28 guests can be accommodated in the evening. It’s important to gourmet chef Heros De Agostinis to take time to prepare the 7-course menu together with his team for every guest with great attention to detail. After all, the renowned chef has finally returned to his homeland of Italy and his home in Rome after many positions abroad, which have also had a significant influence on his culinary art. And pleasure should be savoured, without time pressure, but with style.

Our conclusion: still in its infancy, but still convincing, the «Palazzo Naiadi Rome Hotel» has developed into a real insider tip among the best hotels in the city. And since, as we all know, many roads lead to Rome, this could be one of the closest ones to you.

Photos Copyrights: Anantara Palazzo Naiadi Rome Hotel

Orientalische Oase

Spaciousness, wonderful wellness and all-round relaxed flair: oriental aesthetics meet a great deal of space at the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech. Guests stay in spacious private villas with their own pool or in one of the nine suites overlooking the lush greenery of the elegant surroundings.

This is definitely a place you would want to get lost in: the estate of the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech stretches over 20 hectares (49.4 acres), where winding paths lead through countless flowering gardens, olive groves and fragrant roses to the private villas.

Enter and feel overwhelmed: the large pool, adjoined by a hot tub, is the centrepiece of the open-plan villa area. Around the pool are rows of comfortable daybeds, sofas and armchairs, where you can relax in complete privacy. Sliding doors lead to the spacious living room and bathroom, centrally placed in the 280 square metre (3,014 square feet) villa is the bedroom, which offers its own access to the hot tub. In the large elegant marble bathroom, the vanities, a huge bathtub with whirlpool, the shower, the dressing room and the WC are each separate. In the pleasant African warmth, life takes place mainly outdoors anyway. This is why the outdoor area, bordered by lots of greenery and numerous small garden niches, has another shower, a kitchen and, in addition to the various sunny and shady seating options, a fireplace.

Traditional flair with a modern touch
Aesthetic in every detail, the villas are designed in Moroccan style. The interior of traditional tadelakt motifs, hand-blown vases, fine ceramics and hand-woven woollen carpets is a tribute to the culture and tradition of the country. The ceramic dining tables are made by the Moroccan label Ceramic Loun, whose workshops in the city are open to visitors. Those who prefer more of a hotel feeling instead of their own villa check into one of the nine spectacular suites with panoramic views of the gardens and surrounding landscape.

Pools, palm trees, pleasure
Walking around the grounds of the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech is a pleasure rich in variety: not only are exotic plants in bloom everywhere, but there are also fantastic views over extensive pool landscapes, lush vegetable gardens, secluded areas for sunbathing, shady spots for al fresco dining and a large enclosure where goats and donkeys live, which can be petted and fed. Cats also feel at home on the premises and are treated in a friendly manner, especially Snickers, a cute cat who even has her own Instagram account.

Magical Marrakech
In the far distance, the snow-covered Atlas Mountains stretch out as a breathtaking backdrop, and right next to the hotel, golf enthusiasts get their money’s worth on the 18-hole course. What should not be missed on any visit to Marrakech is a trip to the medina, only a ten-minute drive away – in the hustle and bustle of the narrow streets, you can feel Moroccan life up close and grab unique, handmade souvenirs. A visit to the Jardin Majorelle, considered one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, is also highly recommended. The airport is just 15 minutes away from the hotel and bicycles are available for guests to use throughout their stay.

Variety of delicacies
Back at the Mandarin Oriental from the excursion, guests are greeted by the pleasant calm and serenity of the property and it is time for dinner at one of the four excellent restaurants. Michelin-starred chef Akrame Benallal takes his guests on a world tour of flavours at SHIRVAN, combining Mediterranean, North African and Eastern specialities with Western influences. The restaurant’s interior, inspired by the magnificent mosque in Cordoba and designed by the architect duo Gilles & Boissier is impressive, like the entire property. Every element of the black and white marble mosaic carpet is handmade, wooden bookshelves store trinkets found in the neighbouring souks, the walls are decorated with traditional H’ssira straw panels, and an alley of slender columns evokes Arab-Andalusian architecture.

LING LING, a restaurant with a large outdoor terrace overlooking the picturesque olive groves and pools, serves small Cantonese dishes. The scenery is accompanied by local musicians or the sound concept by DJ Pathaan, who hails from London. At lunchtime, guests can relax while enjoying Mediterranean dishes made from local produce in the open-air Pool Garden. And at sunset, guests enjoy a cocktail at THE TENT overlooking the majestic palm trees. Those who wish even more privacy can book the restaurant team for the villa, cooking in their own outdoor kitchen if desired.

Peace and Wellbeing
Relax at the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech in the award-winning 1,800 square metre (19,375 square feet) spa. Both architecture and ambience are geared towards the senses. Here too, Gilles & Boissier were inspired by the architecture of Andalusia’s cathedrals and mosques. A corridor with seemingly endless arches made of the red bricks typical of Marrakech leads through the spa to the 70 square metre (753 square feet) indoor pool overlooking the gardens. In a relaxation room with a white stucco ceiling and brick fireplace, tea is served before and after treatments. The wellness selection is large: in six treatment rooms, each featuring a vitality bath or its own garden, numerous treatments and treatments inspired by Moroccan traditions can be enjoyed. Two luxurious hammams, the beauty salon, a yoga studio and a modern fitness centre make the all-round wellbeing experience at the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech perfect.

Photos Copyrights: Mandarin Oriental

1+2=3 – and provide culinary delights

Three likeable guys, one mission and a restaurant in Vienna’s hotspot – that’s all that is needed for success. And this success is damn tasty.

The Chef
Alexandru Simon

The Sommelier
Max Populorum

The Manager
Andreas Rehrmbacher

“Ringstrasse” sounds somewhat bland, but “world heritage site in the historic centre of Vienna” is a lot more exciting. Still, both names denote this one special place in Vienna that is more than just a street leading from A to B. Many historic buildings grace its path and anyone visiting the Austrian capital must stop by here. The latest highlight of the 5.3-kilometre-long street is the “Glasswing”, which is considered a new top culinary address.

And thus, they came in a group of three – and as always, to stay: Chef Alexandru Simon, sommelier Max Populorum and restaurant manager Andreas Rehrmbacher. The meeting point for the three exceptional talents is the luxury boutique hotel “The Amauris Vienna”. And those who love puns are welcome to speak of “ama”. That is, Alexandru, Max and Andreas. And “ama” in Italian means “he or she loves”. That is basically all we need to say. But, after all, just “basically”, because who are these three successful guys who are making a culinary statement in the Austrian metropolis?

The Chef

First of all, we have Mr Alexandru Simon. A connoisseur of the world, and no, not a globetrotter. Trotting is much too slow for the French-born chef. He is bursting with energy and manages to combine the experience of his numerous international stations in one dish. As, for example, in the lukewarm Norway lobster combined with cauliflower parfait, Vadouvan hollandaise and Walter Grüll caviar. That doesn’t just sound exotic, it’s real master cuisine. And because Ringstrasse is definitively Austrian tradition after all, new interpretations of Styrian chicken and national innards cuisine are also served in modern form.

The Sommelier

Max Populorum is the youngest of the trio and even boasts a “2” as the first digit in his age. Young, however, does not mean inexperienced. He already knows exactly which aroma goes best with which course – and he knows this at a professional level. With a classic 7-course menu, as served at “The Amauris Vienna”, he always hits the mark. He has had a selection of around 350 international wines put on the menu – starting with the Austrian Grüner Veltliner to classics like the Montrachet or Château Pétrus. And if a wine won’t fit, the expert knows how to convince with the appropriate cocktail accompaniment.

The Manager

Well, someone has got to do the job. And who could be a better boss than the unexcited Mr Rehrmbacher? Whereby unexcited is a compliment, because it means that he holds all the strings and knows how to pull them with precision and professionalism. Andreas brings the expertise of the Hotel Sacher with him and sees himself as a link between guest and kitchen. The manager from the state of Lower Austria ensures the service, staff structure and purchasing harmonise perfectly. And that every guest simply feels like visiting the Ringstrasse a second time.

Three cheers and bon appetit!

Photos Copyrights: The Amauris Vienna

“As a Car Designer You Move Ten Steps or, better, Years Ahead.”

This October, Cadillac opened its first experience centre in Europe – at a prime address on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse. Head designer Magalie Debellis gave us a creative insight into what sets the brand’s e-fleet apart from its competition and what her goals are with her team. And then there was the matter of the masterpieces …

Adam: Magalie, many designers have a personal signature – which one is yours?

Magalie Debellis: My signature is my approach. So, rather not a classic element, but the way I create a design instead. I love fashion, art, architecture… to start a new project, I first question the general inspiration. I take a look at the brand, its heritage, but above all its future. What should a vision for tomorrow look like? And then I am reinterpreting this heritage. I love beautiful, but enjoy it even more when they are bold. I take a stance from the overall silhouette, it has to meet these demands. And I am adamant, my team knows that. It is important to me to always take ourselves to a new level together – that is exactly how the design should be. We work a lot with our hands and 3D models. Especially when a project is just being started. I want to feel things, model them, experience them.

How long does a design process take – starting from the first idea to the presentation?

I created the first sketch for the LYRIQ in 2018. This was followed by the first models in 3D form, true to scale. We also had a short film made and pushed ahead with production in parallel. At GM we work hand in hand, there is no silo mentality. I see my task in the process as accompanying it from the beginning to the end, but also shaping it. We coordinate with each other. The engineers, the designers and everyone else involved within the organisation. Each Cadillac is a collective work.

Are there things that make the LYRIQ special or rather set it apart from other models manufactured by other brands?

I would say that exactly one thing was really unique. We have created a completely new battery, the Ultium platform, for this car. It is a next-generation battery platform – or as I like to say: the battery rests between four wheels like a skateboard. And we were able to build on that in the truest sense of the word. We were able to completely redesign the configuration, based on a base with a powerful engine and a chassis that offered plenty of room to do so thanks to its mass. Our goal was to innovate elements that can be found in every car. We wanted to give expression to the car. Vertical headlights, a centre console that has been integrated in a way that allows for enough space for storage. We have transferred the technical possibilities into the design and, in my opinion, created an expressive Cadillac. The brand’s personality becomes visible in every single detail, even if the model is new.

At Cadillac, you are the «Head of Cadillac Advanced Design». What does the «Advance» mean for your work, for you personally?

The job as a car designer is exciting, you have to be enormously creative. But you must also always move ten steps ahead. You have to think far into the future. Which means developing a strategy and a vision together with your team that starts with the short term and does not really end with the long term. We are currently thinking about where Cadillac and the entire industry will, should, ought to be in ten years’ time.

That is definitely not an easy task …

Whenever a new model is launched, we are already thinking about the next

one, the next ones. Cadillac has a strong portfolio, but we always have the next generation in mind. Both the next generation of humankind and their needs in the future, but also the next generation of our technology and our design. We live a great dynamic within the team and the whole company. Everything we implement should be something special. We want to launch niche products that live up to the brand’s heritage but, above all, are in line with American luxury.

Magalie, you have been in the industry for many years. Is there such a thing as a masterpiece?

Basically, they are two masterpieces, if I may call them that. I designed the LYRIQ, but also the CELESTIQ. The latter model is the brand’s flagship. And I am very proud of both products, as they have had a lasting impact on the portfolio. They are the flagships of Cadillac’s electric division. And that makes me proud.

What are the next projects going to be?

In everything we do, we have Cadillac’s entire journey in mind. With the opening of the Experience Centre here in Zurich, the first in Europe, we are starting a new era. Our goal is to provide people around the world with the cars they want today and need tomorrow. We want to produce performance models that are trendsetting. And models that shape the future – especially the future of our industry.

And one last, very personal question: you are originally from France. What is it like to work with Americans in America?

They are definitely different cultures (laughs). But that is exactly what is important for our work. Working at Cadillac, but also at GM in general. The diversity of our team is the key to our success. Especially in a creative environment, different opinions, attitudes and also discussions are what is necessary. My personal advantage is that, as a Frenchwoman, I can look at the heritage of an American brand and thus also have the external view. While that is exciting, it is challenging as well. But it is great.

Photos Copyrights: Cadillac

A valuable meeting place

Sotheby’s and Bucherer are successful companies with tradition. With the new Sotheby’s salon at Bucherer on Bahnhofstrasse, they have now created a valuable space together.

«True values are not the ones you see, but the ones you feel» – an anonymous quote sums it up perfectly. Founded in 1744, Sotheby’s is one of the oldest and most renowned auction houses in the world. Today, Sotheby’s is the world’s first address for art and luxury because certain things are worth a lot to certain people. In cooperation with the Swiss watch and jewellery retailer Bucherer, the first Sotheby’s Salon has now been opened, where customers can not only view the valuable products, but also purchase them directly on site. In addition to watches, there is also an exclusive selection of handbags and accessories, jewellery, sneakers and high-quality streetwear, works of art as well as sports memorabilia and wines.

To mark the launch, we spoke to Vanessa Conlin. She is Global Head of Wine Retail and one of the few female Masters of Wine.

What does valuable mean to you, Ms Conlin?
Valuable goes far beyond the «price». It is about what is meaningful to you as a person. Memories we create. Time we spend with dear and beloved people. For me, that is precisely what is of ultimate value. Shared moments with people, and wine brings people together. Wine is made to be shared. Being together with friends and enjoying an evening together is a shared and always unique experience. I myself have a musical background. And music also brings people together. The exciting thing about both things is that everyone personally describes this experience differently, because everyone feels it quite individually.

Values have a lot to do with emotions …
That’s true, and they influence how valuable we find something. Which then in turn determines how much we are willing to give for it. Here is an example: The «Screaming Eagle» is expensive. It is the most expensive wine from the United States. For a 0.75 litre bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from 2019, you pay around 4,500 Swiss francs. I am often asked whether a wine can cost so much, can be so valuable. I then want to know from my counterpart whether they think that the Screaming Eagle is worth so much to them personally. Because that’s all that matters. For some people, it is the greatest thing to own such a rarity and such an excellent wine. Value is relative and, as you say, something very emotional.

While we are on the subject of emotions – what makes your job, your task, your mission at Sotheby’s worthwhile?
It is this very special composition of exclusivity and craftsmanship that makes wine unique. After all, producing something means craft and agriculture. I myself
often like to be directly on site with the producers. I love it when we walk through their vineyards and they explain their philosophy of cultivation to me. Going back to the roots, that’s how I feel about it. To experience the beginning and then enjoy the result even more. However, I also share the common experience with the clients. I am delighted when someone tells me how much they enjoyed the wine they bought from us. How they enjoyed it and with whom. Finding out what became of the fine wines that we, as Sotheby’s, have curated for our customers.

Which brings us back to the connecting element. Who are you most closely connected with in your life?
Definitely with my family, and with my three cats. (laughs) My husband and I named them after old film stars. Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner and Vivien Leigh. My family is this very personal space where I experience pleasure, connection and value. Where I get the chance to gather strength and share my favourite moments together.

You addressed it: How much may a wine cost? Are expensive wines really always the better ones? A sommelier once told me: It the end, it just has to taste good to you …
That sums it up wonderfully. I myself am a real explorer and always open to new impressions and experiences. There are new wines, new producers every year. A new vintage. That’s why I never buy the same wines myself. I want to learn, discover and above all expand my knowledge about wines over and over again. That’s why I’m trying my way through the world.

What does that look like?
I travel a lot. As I said, I enjoy being at the wineries, on site. In the vineyards. Next on my list is Croatia. I really want to go there. The country makes wonderful wines. More and more wine and better wines by the year. But these wines don’t make it to the USA. So I have to go to Croatia myself to experience the pleasure on the spot.

Experiencing is an important part of your life, as I may interpret it from what you just said before. Before your wine career, you were a singer on Broadway. It’s close to impossible to find anything that sums up «experiencing» up more quintessentially. Why the change?
I grew up in a family full of music. My parents are both classical musicians. My father is a conductor and my mother was an opera singer. Therefore, music has been a part of my life since I was born and it comes naturally. So, my path was clear at the beginning of my career. I went to New York at that time, pursued a Master’s degree in music and performed on stage as a professional. But since I am an open-hearted person and love enjoyment and togetherness, I eventually came to the subject of wine. And when I do something, I do it completely or not at all. And so I focused completely on this new theme. I put a lot of money into courses, training, further education. And finally, I acquired «The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)». It was the door opener to a new chapter in my life and a valuable one for me. Especially today and in the present, togetherness, exchange, being together is so important for all of us. And this is why I am so pleased that we have now been able to create this meeting place together with Bucherer.

Photos Copyrights: Bucherer / Sotheby’s

Dream destination Maldives

To be honest, all this is just incredible! 19 island groups with almost 2 000 islands rise between one and five metres from the sea. 220 islands are inhabited by locals – another 150 are open to tourism and once you arrive, you suddenly find yourself in paradise …

The peak travel season for the Maldives is during our winter. However, as I enjoy not being a part of the masses, I booked my flight for July. The prices are much cheaper and the weather is consistently great and warm. Any rainfall has quickly passed after 30 minutes and the sun beams down once more. I highly recommend the low seasons for the Maldives. I have set aside one week for my trip to paradise and therefore plan to quickly immerse myself in the island feeling.

SHERATON Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

For me, the ideal hotel for this is the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. After the long flight, I don’t want to get on a seaplane, but rather take a speedboat to my home away from home. It takes just 15 minutes and I have reached the spacious resort, which leaves nothing to be desired. At the Feast Restaurant, I treat myself to a breakfast with fresh fruit and a delicious buffet that is hard to beat for richness. This is what an optimal start to a holiday looks like for me.

My charming Island Cottage is perfectly equipped and has an open-air bathroom as well as a small front garden through which I can reach the sea in 30 seconds. There is so much choice about how best to spend my time here that I book my dive straight away, followed by massage and a tour of the island. At the «Coral Restoration Snorkeling Area», they explain to me how corals are re-bred and I am allowed to sink a basket with baby corals into the sea myself.

Choosing which of the 7 restaurants to have dinner at is not easy at all as I would like to try them all. Finally, I decide on a fresh fish at Masala Hut – and what a great choice it was! This very evening, the glass of Chardonnay tastes particularly good to me. Satisfied, I dip my head into the soft pillow.

The next day, the ring of my alarm clock gets me out of my cosy bed early. I am too curious about the morning yoga session in the pavilion right by the sea. After that, I do what the Maldives are best known for: chilling, swimming and snorkelling in the turquoise blue water waiting right in front of my villa. In a flash, a small shark swims past me. I squeal with joy as these moments are always the very highlights. A visit to the orchid garden, a drink at Sunset Point and an evening walk to watch the flying foxes make this day perfect.

Before I continue my journey to the next island, I make sure that the last night before my flight home will also be spent at the SHERATON Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. Enjoying this again is something worth looking forward to. In addition, I can get to the airport in no time at all without any weather risk.

Le MÉRIDIEN Maldives Resort & Spa

But right now, it’s on to Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. The seaplane flight is wonderful because you can see the beautiful resorts from above. 35 minutes of flight time later, I am greeted by the hotel manager and his crew at the dock. I feel welcome and enjoy my fresh cocktail. The island is exactly as you would imagine the Maldives to be. White sand with palm trees and dense vegetation surrounded by crystal clear turquoise water. The waves break on the offshore reef and create a natural spectacle.

At the Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, I get to stay at an Oversea Villa. I feel like a king overlooking his kingdom when I enter the secluded terrace and look out to sea.

The resort is newly built with a lot of mindfulness. Generating their own electricity and treating their own water is just as much a part of the sustainability concept as the Greenhouse, where salads and herbs are grown. As a friend of the culinary arts, I make sure to savour every meal in a different one of the 6 different gourmet restaurants. Each and every single one of the dishes is just delicious.  Once again, I check my dive, rent a bike to explore the island, get pampered at the spa and listen to the young marine biologist doing her research at the resort.I’m also able to persuade her to accompany me dolphin spotting and snorkelling. As she knows the best spots around the island, we observe thousands of colourful fish, grazing sea turtles, manta rays floating by and some reef sharks. An exceptionally beautiful experience that makes me humble and grateful. As the day draws to a close, I treat myself to a Negroni at the Riviera Bar and chat with good-humoured guests from all over the world. Before I go to bed, I linger on my private villa terrace and lose myself in the starry sky reflected in the sea.

»Dreaming is beautiful, but living your dreams is even more beautiful!«

Photos Copyrights: SHERATON Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, Le MERIDIEN Maldives Resort & Spa

Highway to hell – You are what you eat!

My mind just wandered off and I thought about back then! Back then… we were young, attractive, arrogant, wild and incredibly horny. We hung around all night, lived on air and love and enjoyed life to the fullest. If someone had raved to me about healthy cooking back then, I would have laughed in their face.

Well, it was a while back then and the wild, impetuous tomcat full of testosterone has become a spoiled mansion resident who indulges in the luxurious lifestyle, keeps fit by dancing in front of the television and takes care of his affluent belly with fine dining. Hmm, I would have had to do something long ago if I didn’t want to end up like my can opener, who keeps complaining that he no longer fits into his made-to-measure shirts, even though he is extremely disciplined (and eats like it too). By the way, eating is supposed to be the sex of old age!

According to scientific findings, eating healthy is not so far-fetched if you want to become an elderly tomcat at some point. Vitamins, antioxidants and co. are true fountains of youth.

Suddenly I hear my reasonable inner voice: “You are what you eat! Get up you lazy cat and do something for your health and wellbeing. You’re on the highway to hell!”

Yes, yes! I leisurely turn over on my luxury garden lounger so my paws can cool off in the covered pool. I dreamily look into the dense treetop, the bright blue sky above me and my thoughts drift with the clouds. Cooking has always been my passion, of course only sophisticated cuisine with lots of protein. Well-seasoned dry aged beef, fish and Norway lobster have always been some of my favourite staple foods. Vegetables and salads are usually just an unavoidable decoration or in the form of a prairie oyster (tomato juice with a raw egg!), as a hangover breakfast after a night of drinking.

Again I turn, groaning on my bed, into a more comfortable position. Ahhhhh, how wonderful it would be to be young and bubbly again – the pleasant thought washes over me so intensely that I jump up, grope my way to the fridge with integrated glasshouse and gorge at an insane rate until it’s empty. In the high-tech kitchen of our upper-class villa, it has recently been spring all year round, which makes your mouth water. The growth of salads and herbs is aesthetically staged and the result is fully preserved nutrients and aromas that were not thought possible. That reminds me of the commercial with the grey Burmese beauty when her can opener places a parsley leaf on the aluminium can food – if my owner were to dawdle around smiling like that while serving, I would have to put him up for adoption.

After my binge eating, I sit in the blue light of the open refrigerator door with my belly sticking out and nibble on my bad conscience, while a stream of air that smells intensely of liver pâté and onions makes its way between my teeth and leads to freedom. So that was it, the absolute nadir. I will change my life completely.

I’m still a passionate cook, but with vegetables as the main protagonist and organic meat or fish that’s not overbred as a side dish. I season with fresh “vertical farming” herbs, develop sophisticated and fine-tasting convenience dishes for overweight conspecifics. My vegetarian and vegan line is just as fantastic as my online shop and recipe blog. My cooking videos and my appearance on social networks are cult classics. I’m fantastic looking, more than fit and of course my own promotional testimonial. My cookbooks for slim tomcats are selling like hot cakes. Signed with a paw, of course. Readers: take a look inside, my life is perfect.

Then I open my eyes and can still see the dense treetop above me and the sky, which is now shimmering and a bit pale. Well, you’ve read a lot about how healthy vegetables really are with all that pesticide exposure, but at least I’m still arrogant to perfection. At the next full moon, I’ll go out like I did back then and get that “young and crisp feeling” back in a simple way!

… but now I have to order the delivery service and have the fridge filled. Ok, there will also be a little decoration, because after all I strive for conscious living and individual freedom …

Copyright Illustration: Manuela Dona

“I have some issues with authority”

Actor Jürgen Vogel on his roles as police commissioner and family man as well as his experiences in Berlin across the Spree river.

What appeals to you about the police commissioner character you play in the TV series «Jenseits der Spree» (Across the Spree River)?
The basic idea was to do a Friday night crime thriller that holds a slightly different narrative. Robert Heffler is a single father who tries to be a good policeman. He does, however, not always succeed in doing so due to getting distracted by the conflicts he has at home with his three daughters.

Your four own and two adopted children are between 4 and 35 years old. I guess that challenges you both as a father and grandfather?
When we go to the playground together, some funny moments do actually happen when my daughter asks me «Daddy, can you help me swing?» and the grandson asks: «Grandpa, please come to the slide!»

Heffler has a secret lover, his boss. Have you experienced love in the workplace yourself?
I’ve certainly had crushes in the last forty years, but I’ve never been with an actress for a long time. Until I met my current fiancée, I couldn’t have imagined it because you travel so much in this profession that a couple hardly sees each other when they are both successful.

How did Natalia Belitski and you meet?
In 2016, I portrayed a chef in the two-part film «Familie!» (Family!) who is married and has a small child, and Natalia played my assistant. But they did not only work together, they also had an affair.

Will you and your fiancée soon be seen together in front of the camera again?
I would very, very much like to produce a film with her. Possibly I might direct it. I am now 55 years old and would like to get involved in this way in the near future. I founded a production company for independent films with Matthias Glasner back in 1996.

You also act in commercials. The 2006 Sparkasse commercial looked like you wanted to try out how it feels to play James Bond…
(Laughs) I simply enjoy conveying advertising messages in an original way in interesting, funny films. Money, however, is not the decisive factor. I have to be able to support what I do and what kind of company it is.

You love leaving your comfort zone behind as an actor. Where do you do that in real life?
As a father, or in the martial arts I do, where you are nothing but who you are fundamentally and have to overcome your weaker self every time. So I don’t really make myself comfortable in my private life either, and that applies just as well to the work I do. Aybi Era, who plays Mavi, with whom Robert forms a team, and I often write text messages to each other in the evenings after shooting with suggestions regarding changes and ideas for dialogue.

In 1986 you moved to Berlin because people were not drafted into the German armed forces there. What put you off most about it?
I had just found my feet in acting and was afraid that I would be forgotten if I had to serve a year and a half in the armed forces. I also have some issues with authority. If I had been ordered to do something there that I couldn’t understand, I might have been sent to a prison.

How did it come about that you lived in Berlin for two years in a shared flat with the current «Tatort» police commissioner Richy Müller?
I met him at a shoot shortly before. Although he is 13 years older, we hit it off right away. He was also a great role model. Social dramas like “Die grosse Flatter”, where he played the lead role, had made a big impression on me.

Robert De Niro in «Taxi Driver» is also said to have been a major inspiration. You didn’t share a flat with him, did you?
No, unfortunately I did not! (Laughs) But I was able to shake his hand briefly when he presented me with the acting award for «Der freie Wille» (The Free Will) at his Tribeca Film Festival in New York in 2006.

Köpenick is far away from the chic and cosmopolitan parts of Berlin. What makes this neighbourhood exciting for «Jenseits der Spree»?
It’s a kind of neighbourhood that Berlin consists of as well, with a good mix of normal working class people and young creatives who appreciate the quality of life and the more affordable rent. And the neighbourhood has corners that have not been seen so often yet.

Köpenick has also become better known recently through the successes of FC Union. Are you a «Unioner»?
Let’s put it this way: I think the club is really great, really likeable! Our director, who is a fan, also once took us to one of the club evenings where we had a chat with the Unioners about their football and our series.

Urs Fischer, who was voted coach of the year, is from Zurich. Do you have a connection to Switzerland?
I have already shot several films in Switzerland, «Wachtmeister Zumbühl» (Constable Zumbühl) with Urs Odermatt and «Zornige Küsse» (Angry Kisses) with Judith Kennel. Rudolf Santschi is an excellent producer. But all that was a long time ago. So it would be about time for something to crop up again. Maybe I can influence it, if I work as a director.

Jürgen Vogel, an actor, was born in Hamburg on 29 April 1968. He made his breakthrough with Sönke Wortmann’s comedy film «Kleine Haie» (Little Sharks, 1992). Other milestones include «Das Leben ist eine Baustelle» (Life Is All You Get, German Film Award 1997), «Der freie Wille» (The Free Will, Silver Bear awarded at Berlinale 2006), «Die Welle» (The Wave, 2008) and the thriller series «Blochin» (2015). Vogel lives with his fiancée Natalia Belitski and their daughter in Berlin-Charlottenburg. He is currently to be seen on SRF 1 on Tuesdays at 8.05 pm and on ZDF on Fridays at 8.15 pm in the 3rd season of the crime series «Jenseits der Spree» (Across the Spree River).

Photos Copyrights: Stefan Klüter, ZDF/Oliver Feist

The creative jack-of-all-trades – Roger Staub

As a show designer and creative director, Roger Staub has worked in Los Angeles for stars such as Beyoncé, Puff Daddy, Jay-Z and Eminem. Right now, he is once again making a name for himself again with the legendary format «MTV Unplugges» for the musician Stress.

Roger Staub grew up in Thayngen near Schaffhausen. Early on, the trained typographer found himself on the theatre stage, was a bass player in various bands, created projects in the field of stage design and decided to move to Los Angeles in 2006. Success was just around the corner, waiting for him: with his video content design and set design, the creative director has created the gigantic stage shows of superstars such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Maroon5, Duke Dumont and Def Leppard. Since 2018, Roger Staub has been back in Zurich, where he founded his branding agency LoF* and was recently elected a member of the Art Directors Club. For Stress, the musician, he now realised the «MTV Unplugged» session, which was recorded in June in Zurich’s Schiffbau and will be released both as a concert film and album in November.

Roger, let’s dive right into it by discussing one of your more recent coups. You orchestrated and realised the «MTV Unplugged» session in the Schiffbau for Stress, the musician, this summer … what makes this format special?
«MTV Unplugged» means that songs “are performed unamplified” in acoustic form. It is a legendary format that peaked in the 1990s and 2000s with concerts by Björk and Nirvana. After Patent Ochsner, Stress is only the second Swiss artist to receive this honour. In any artist’s biography, this is a milestone, basically a knighthood.

A few words about the cooperation between the two of you …
I met Stress through another project last year and when the request from «MTV Unplugged» came, he asked me whether I would be interested in getting involved here. The common theme is the life story of Andres Andrekson, alias Stress. The pieces were rearranged and the stories were scenographically realised. When the venue was fixed with the Schiffbau, I designed the first renderings for the stage situations. Where does the ten-piece band, the chamber orchestra or the audience sit? I also wanted it not to be a concert stage in the traditional sense, but a theatre set with static lighting and printed back drop, the classic theatrical means you use.

A love of live show staging brought you to Los Angeles in 2006. A courageous step …
Maybe it was brave in retrospect, but it was just the logical decision at the time. It was liberating for me to meet so many like-minded people and I immediately felt at home in these large-scale projects. In Switzerland, we are rather exotic in the field of live entertainment; in LA, everyone is somehow connected to entertainment.

You are known as a quiet and rather reserved person – attributes that are less associated with Hollywood. Did you bring some of the American mindset with you to Switzerland?
I certainly brought some large-scale thinking back with me. What I had to learn was to put aside some of my Swiss restraint. But at the end of the day, these are character traits that you can’t just turn upside down. It is also about remaining authentic.

Looking at your career, your work is very much focused on music …
Music is an important constant in my life. I learned piano, played the bass in my first band and started playing drums 10 years ago. I have a musical understanding that enables me to translate the music into a visual world and my creative understanding tells me whether the song is more «yellow» or «blue». It’s about understanding what’s going on musically and then how you can visually represent this.

What would you describe as your inner driving force, your source of inspiration?
In the end, the concept must above all reflect the personality and vision of the artists. I often find the main inspiration in art and its moods, in its materiality or also in installations. For me, it’s about translating this mood onto the stage situation with other means. But film stills also often inspire me. I try to recreate moods and find it exciting how you can create very different spatial moods by using just small interventions.

Last year you founded your agency LoF*, with which you focus strongly on brand experience and brand exploration. Is experience the magic word of our time?
I think it is, yes. Experience is a major concern for brands. Today, it is much less about a CI/CD manual, but about how one experiences a brand. It is about designing experiential spaces.

So has the spark of experience spread from the stage to the corporate world?
It definitely has. At first, it spilled from the arts onto the concert stages. Today there are many bands that are on stage with some kind of installation. It is often no longer just about the gigantism of large canvases, but about creating entire spaces. This is a trend that brands are also following today. Fashion shows, for example, are massive installations and brand experiences par excellence. Experience is the means to communicate values and make them tangible.

Roger, in conclusion: What’s next?
I’m looking forward to the release of the album! Now it’s also a matter of making this «MTV Unplugged» ready for the tour roadshow starting on March 9, 2024.

Photos Copyrights: G M D THREE, Roger Staub, Nicole Rötheli, Tabea Hüberli, Roger Staub