LOTUS Arts de Vivre IS COMING TO KUALA LUMPUR ON WEDNESDAY 8 AND THURSDAY 9 JUNE AT LARA GALLERY, 116 JALAN MAAROF, BANGSAR FROM 11 AM TO 9 PM
Remember, drop everything and come for a lookee okee!
The owners and founding Von Bueren family will showcase their amazingly beautiful, precious and creative jewellery, decorative elements, furniture, furnishings and accessories to adorn your body and home.
The sexy Sri von Bueren is creative director of Lotus Arts de Vivre and his unruly mop of curls is real as I have pulled them before many times.
I love cocks of all shapes and sizes but this is my favorite cock!
While the above can be worn as pendant or brooch, this asymmetrical cock is one half of a pair of earrings
My dream Dragon Bangle!
A mythical fish bowl to hold your keys, fruits or whatnots
The founding family of Lotus Arts de Vivre, Rolf, Helen, Sri and Nicki von Bueren will be on hand to show you their latest collection of jewels guaranteed to bowl you over plus their home decor, furniture and accessories.
Also exhibiting are artworks by Christian de Laubadere and Olga Marie Polunin. Just so you don't starve to death, there will be food from famed Bali restaurant Mozaic so you get to enjoy superb food, fine wine and scintillating conversation ( I will be there so for sure the conversation will sparkle like me) which are the hallmarks of a Lotus Arts de Vivre event!
Chef Salans of Mozaic has elevated food into the next level and Mozaic is the first restaurant in Southeast Asia to be inducted into the prestigious The Grand Tables of the World association. Wines are provided by the Allegrini family of Italy in Fumane near Verona who has been in the wine business since 1557 so they must have been doing something right.
But the star attraction remains Lotus. Not Lotus the racing car but Lotus the purveyor of life's finest offerings.
For the terminally uninformed, Lotus Arts de Vivre or commonly known as Lotus Arts of Thailand as most Asians cannot pronounce the 'Vivre' and can't be bothered to learn this tongue-twisting word nor its meaning. Considering Thailand was never a Western colony let alone a Frenchy one unlike Cambodia and Vietnam, why the founders found it necessary to add this pretentious French word is beyond me. Anyway it is in the same league as 'joie de vivre' and 'vivre votre vie' and if you still don't get it, ask Sri this 8 and 9 June. He is German by the way but speaks Thai like a native.
Considering Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation which was never colonised by western powers (though ironically France made a bid for it) unlike Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, why the Von Buerens had to give their business a Frenchy name is beyond me.
What is NOT beyond me is that Lotus Arts de Vivre is Thailand's FINEST and BEST jeweller and possibly the world's most creative and exciting designer of fine jewellery! Instead of just plonking one 10-carat diamond on the handle of a spoon and thus rendering a lowly item into an object of desire and value, they would probably first ensure the spoon is made not of boring gold or silver or, heaven forbid, stainless steel like the ones we use, but possibly of gnarled wood, rattan, seashell, bone, ivory or some unusual material and then edged with gold and inlaid with diamonds or coloured stones!
A table centrepiece or a tray for your rings
Is this a mask or avant garde sculpture or both?
An iguana peeks cheekily from a natural driftwood as an orchid blooms
Another version so get both as a matching pair of artworks is always worth more when you decide to offload.
Everything they dream of before manifesting that vision into solid reality is a work of art and a precious object to pass down the generations. Like Patek Philippe, you never really own a Lotus Arts de Vivre, you merely look after it for the next generation and enjoy wearing, using or displaying it while doing so!
I have visited all the showrooms of ALL the world's most famous jewellers in London, Paris, New York, Hiong Kong, Tokyo, Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive, Miami Beach's Bal Harbour and Milan (which pretty much takes care of everything!) and I can truly say Lotus Arts de Vivre ranks among the best on Planet Earth and in the same league as Cartier (my favourite international jeweller) JAR, Chanel Fine Jewellery and Christian Dior Fine Jewellery though the last two are better known for couture rather than carats.
I have admired Louis Vuitton fine jewellery and tried desperately to love them but I think they are more concerned with showing off their fancily cut diamonds based on their Monogram bags. Years ago, Escada and Montblanc invited me to view their patented Escada-cut and Montblanc-cut diamonds which looked like any diamond as I had to view through a microscope! The diamonds were the usual 0.2 carat to 0.3 carat or 0.5 carat. I mean, unless the diamond was 100-carat, it is impossible to tell the difference between an Escada-cut or Montblanc-cut diamond or the little blinker you have on your finger! It might as well be a Kee Hua Chee-Cut! Trust me, nothing beats the classic, timeless Brilliant Cut diamonds!
Wisely, Lotus Arts de Vivre focuses entirely on design, workmanship and materials, calling upon the immense skills of Thai craftsmen to transmute the sketches into wearable and usable works of art.
Lotus Arts de Vivre started as a jeweller but as art and home decor go hand in hand, it was a matter of time before the elaborate dragon necklaces and bangles became part of a bowl or platter, with the dragons coiling sinuously along the sides of the cups and presentation plates. Then came the dragon handles of spoons, forks and ladles and before you could say 'Lotus Opus' there were matching tables, chairs, stools and stunning standalone sculptures like a near 3 -metre snake, life-sized crocodile and turtles, all of solid silver and embellished with amethyst, citrine, tiger's eye, agate, rock crystal and aquamarine. Among the conversation pieces were three separate pieces of a crocodile that are meant to be placed on the floor so it appears as if the reptile is floating or half-submerged in water!
Rolf Von Bueren was among the first 'farang' (foreigners) to build and live in classical Thai wooden houses and creating a superb Thai garden that is now the envy of all as the trees have all matured. Their huge compound now houses separate bungalows for their two sons, Sri and Nicki.
While Rolf and his wife are no longer sex symbols, their sons certainly are! Sri and Nicki look like models and were considered the most handsome farang bachelors in Thailand. Alas, both are married. Niklas aka Nick von Bueren was long hunted by wealthy young belles from the Thai aristocracy but to their immense chagrin he selected Malaysian beauty Rekha Sen who of course is young, beautiful and comes from a rich family so it was not as if she married him so she could get a constant free supply of fabulous bling. Their wedding last year was a 3-day affair at their Bali house and their pride and joy is son Ari.
Nicki runs the administrative side while elder brother Sri Von Bueren is the creative director and has held the post since 1998. Originally it was his mother Helen who could not find what she liked done in precious stones and gold so she commissioned them. The jewellery were meant for her personal use as she was raising her two kids but many friends both Thai and westerners were enthralled and begged her to sell some of her bling. She reluctantly did and demand became so great it did not require a PhD in Advanced Marketing from Wharton School of Business that she should launch a business in 1980 when her two sons went abroad to study and she had spare time. Thanks to Buddha, both decided to join the family firm instead of becoming doctors or lawyers.
Even her husband Rolf had to give up his day job to help run Lotus which was raking in more money than his already lavish expatriate salary! Both are now semi-retired as their two sons now run Lotus Arts de Vivre fulltime. Today there are Lotus showrooms in Bangkok, Singapore, Cambodia and Japan and their travelling exhibitions are eagerly awaited.
Explains the sexy Sri whose mop of curly hair is real as I have pulled it several times and each time, the strand sprang back. "We use normal and unexpected materials like seed, nut, coconut shell, seashell, snake or stingray leather, ostrich or emu egg, scarab beetle wings, teak and ebony wood, bamboo and rattan and embellish these with gems and each other so a finished piece could consist of many elements and stones. This is possible only because of the highly skilled and motivated craftsmen available only in Thailand."
Their clients include the Royal Family of Thailand, Queen Sophia of Spain, Princess Michael of Kent, Rajmata of Jaipur, Elizabeth Taylor, Goldie Hawn, Sharon Stone and Roman Polanski.
From a jewellery design company, Lotus Arts de Vivre has long branched into lifestyling---bring an object, anything from shirt, pants, pyjamas, underwear, limousine, jet plane, toilet bowl or watch and they can enliven it by adding zing and drama using dollops of imagination and costly materials from the finest leather to diamonds and gold!
Ask Sri when you see him to create some furniture for your home or commission him to make an unique work of art to fill that lonely, empty corner. Some of my friends have asked him to make suitcases that perfectly fit the boot of their Mercedes, Lamborghini or Ferrari as you know, the boots of sports cars are not humongous so if you throw in just one bag, it practically fills the entire boot, making it impossible to squeeze in other bags. But Sri can make several made to measure suitcases and bags that fit like jigsaw puzzle so they fill up the entire space in your boot with no wastage.
Lotus Arts de Vivre is family owned and operated which is what I like as this business is not run by faceless conglomerates. Don't we all wish there are still living Cartiers, Vuittons or Guccis still running the companies that bear their names? Only Hermes and Prada are still controlled by the founders but Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy now own 20% of Hermes and Prada is planning to float.
Luckily Lotus Arts de Vivre is now in the capable hands of the second generation and I look forward to Sri and Nicki's kids taking over the reins!