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Arik Levy: A Natural Embellishment By Matthew Phillips

Matthew Phillips explores Arik Levy’s latest aesthetic as part of the HSBC Bank’s Connection Collection….

Arik Levy

International banks are not usually renowned for their liberalism but, at HSBC, Arik Levy has been given ‘‘carte blanche’’ during the creation of The Connection Collection. The principle creations, Rocksplit and Rockshelves, offer insights not only into how the modern world has shaped nature, but also how nature continues to influence mankind.

Such ergonomics are in harmony with the themes that permeate Levy’s work. Reflective steel rocks, which have become the artist’s signature pieces, reveal much about his aesthetic. These metallic boulders do little to physically impose on their surroundings, save to alter how the beholder perceives an environment now mirrored in their oblique planes. The visual trickery is so subtle that one could be forgiven for believing that they are indigenous, yet non-biological, features of an open landscape.

Where other designers seek to embellish or define space, Levy distorts the natural forms that already exist in any given area. His often quoted mantra – “the world is about people, not tables and chairs” – laconically conveys his approach to industrial art structures. By placing people at the centre of his art, Levy’s objects are primarily intended to facilitate a relationship between his audience and their environment.

The Art of Foresight By Alanna Lynott

Is Astrology the businessman’s ultimate luxury?

The Art of Foresight. Image © NASA.

Blame the global recession, Bernie Maddof and the continuous rise and fall of stocks and shares, but 2010 is set to be the year that businessmen have their astrologers on speed dial.

Great businessmen, politicians and the like have long since used the skills of an astrologer. J.P. Morgan employed a full-time astrologer at his bank and once famously remarked, “Millionaires don’t use astrology. Billionaires do.” Queen Elizabeth I had her very own personal astrologer, while Margaret Thatcher attributed her own level-headedness to the fact she was “born under the sign of Libra.” Walt Disney, Ronald Regan and Benjamin Franklin were all devotees.

Today, top executives can’t get enough of this ancient art. As is to be expected, astrologers have been quick to take note, with a rise in astrological consultancy services and leadership seminars. These savvy astro-economists track the celestial cycles to reveal the best time to sign papers, introduce new products, start a business or purchase a property. They will calculate the compatibility of your potential business partnership and tell you what shares to buy and when.

But can this mystic ‘‘science’’ really be allowed to exert such control? A recent case in Hong Kong demonstrates the dangers clearly enough. Nina Wang, Asia’s richest woman, left the majority of her $4.2billion fortune to her fortune teller and feng shui master, Tony Chan. Her family have accused Chan of isolating Wang through the encouragement of bizarre feng shui rituals.

Despite the inevitable pitfalls of allowing one’s sense to be too easily swayed, it seems that business astrology is here to stay. Most businessmen are quite secretive about it and only share their astrologer’s details with their most intimate friends and associates.

“Astro-economics is like technical analysis thirty years ago. People were using it and nobody talked about it,” says Henry Weingarten, a financial astrologer and money manager. “It’s a fairly open secret that a certain segment of fund managers, traders and investors use financial astrology, and eventually it will become mainstream.”

If you’re keen to see what the stars have in store for your business, The Luxury Channel loves Susan Miller’s monthly horoscopes for in-depth advice.