Design and Technology
The Top 20 Global Innovators
We are living in a thrilling age of bold innovation. Across the arenas of design, fashion, hospitality, and aeronautics, these are the brands fearlessly pushing the boundaries of technology.
Across the arenas of design and fashion, hospitality and aeronautics, these are the brands fearlessly pushing the boundaries of technology and imagination to create truly pioneering products and experiences. They will come to define the times – and possibly the future.
POLESTAR is on a mission to create beautiful, exciting products that redefine preconceived ideas. As their hotly anticipated electric roadster and hydrofoil demonstrate, their imagination knows no bounds.
POLESTAR 6 LA CONCEPT
When Polestar announced in August 2022 that it would build an electric convertible based on its 2+2 Concept, the 500 build slots sold out in a week. Production isn’t due to begin on the Polestar 6 LA Concept electric roadster until 2026, yet the excitement surrounding the two-door hardtop convertible is palpable. The Polestar 6 LA Concept sets out to boldly and joyfully state that the future of the sports car is electric. Merging high art with cutting-edge technology, it features integrated aero ducts in the wheel arches, and rear lights which double up as air blades for superb aerodynamics as well as aesthetics. The 800-volt electrical architecture has target specifications of 0-60 mph time of 3.1 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph and a range of over 370 miles. The first 500 production cars will be the exclusive, numbered Polestar 6 LA Concept edition, featuring custom-designed 21” alloy wheels, Polestar’s unique Sky exterior colour (with other colours available), special bodyside graphics and a distinctive, animal welfare-traced leather interior. Never has joining a waiting list been so appealing…
Passionate about rolling out its pioneering design technology beyond the automotive industry, Polestar has collaborated with fellow Swedish brand, Candela, to create the Candela C-8 Polestar edition, an electric foiling boat which leaves no wake or emissions behind. Mooted as “racing car meets flying carpet”, the hydrofoil seats eight and glides silently over the water’s surface. Its sleek grey exterior is countered by a flash of Polestar’s signature gold on the computer guided hydrofoils. Powered by the same 69 kWh battery as the Polestar 2 electric performance fastback, it has the most advanced electric boat battery pack ever, giving it the fastest charging time as well as a range of 57 NM – the longest available in the electric market. With a top speed of 27 kt, the Candela C-8 Polestar edition is described by Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath as “a breakthrough for electrification in the yacht industry.”
The leading artists and designers pushing their palettes to the limits of possibility.
A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
Marc Newson for Louis Vuitton
The ground-breaking Australian designer Marc Newson reimagines Louis Vuitton’s iconic travel trunk as a Cabinet of Curiosities, combining his signature rounded edges with the Maison’s savoir-faire to create an intriguing visual display.
BMW ART CAR
Julie Mehretu, the internationally renowned artist, has been selected to create the 20th BMW Art Car, continuing its progressive “rolling sculpture” series. Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 will launch at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2024.
“As someone who likes to innovate, I’m grateful that I adopted technology as my medium,” says digital artist Dominic Harris. His recent exhibition ‘Feeding Consciousness’ at Halcyon Gallery deployed AI and machine learning to create interactive artworks.
From ageing wine under the sea to creating the world’s lightest champagne bottle, these producers are driving ambitious innovations to usher in the next generation of winemaking.
TALAMO A MARE
Marco Bacci was on board his yacht when he was first inspired to try a completely revolutionary way to age his wine. As the owner and CEO of the award-winning Bacci Wine Group, he noticed that the bottles of wine which had slipped to the bottom of the yacht had matured surprisingly well. “The quality was great, much better than at the cellar in the winery,” says Bacci.
He realised that the ingredients required to create optimal wine ageing conditions could all be found in the Tyrrhenian Sea, right beside his Terre di Talamo vineyard in Tuscany. “16°C is the perfect temperature to age red wine, the stable temperature at 35 metres deep,” he says. The depth has the added benefit of applying the ideal amount of pressure and light, while storms do the job of gently rotating the bottles. “All those factors made a beautiful environment in which to mature red wine,” says Bacci.
It took four years battling with bureaucracy to get the relevant permissions from the government. “The main issue was having to explain something that had never been done before,” Bacci says. “I was so convinced about the quality that I never thought to give up.”
In 2022, Bacci Wines released the first 6,000 bottles from the 2018 harvest. Talamo a Mare is a certified organic Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot, aged for 12 months under the Tuscan sea.
Champagne Telmont was founded on revolution. Established in 1912 near Épernay in northern France by local winegrower Henri Lhôpital in the wake of the Champagne Riots, today the Maison counts Rémy Cointreau as a majority stakeholder and the Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor.
This is thanks to Champagne Telmont’s uncompromising commitment to sustainability. Not only has the Maison pledged that by 2025, 100% of its vines will be certified organic, it is on a mission to become, by 2030, the first Climate Positive Champagne house, and to be Net Positive by 2050. Achieving these goals requires a reduction of their carbon footprint of at least 90%.
One of their first innovations has been to create the world’s lightest Champagne bottle, in partnership with French glassmaker, Verallia. Realising that the glass used in its bottles accounted for 24% of its total carbon emissions, Champagne Telmont began experimenting with creating lighter (and therefore less emission-heavy) bottles.
At just 800 grams, it is 35 grams lighter than today’s standard Champagne bottle, with a significantly smaller carbon footprint. Despite their ultra-lightweight design, the bottles are able to withstand up to twice the pressure found in a car tyre. The first batch of the revolutionary Réserve de la Terre will be available to buy in 2026.
The legendary house Gucci has always been a fashion pioneer. As two of its most innovative new launches show, its future is informed by its past.
From becoming one of the first luxury fashion houses to accept cryptocurrency, to its pioneering partnership with Roblox, Gucci’s enthusiastic embrace of the metaverse has made this storied brand a Gen Z favourite.
While Gucci takes a visionary approach to 21st century luxury fashion, its success lies in its respect for its heritage, and two of its most innovative recent launches have been deeply rooted in its past. The 2021 launch of Gucci Vault, an online concept store and brainchild of the former Creative Director Alessandro Michele, is a modern celebration of Gucci’s legendary archive.
Featuring one-off pieces created by independent designers using Gucci materials, as well as restored archived pieces, Gucci describes its Vault as “a treasure trove of unique objects”. Vault’s first collective collections – Gucci Continuum – have seen the House collaborate with brands including Vans, Maison Michele, and Husbands.
In 2022, Gucci became the first major fashion brand to build its own space on The Sandbox, the digital platform where players can build, own, and monetise their gaming experiences in the Ethereum blockchain. Gucci Vault Land offered the House the perfect opportunity to educate the Web3 community on its heritage via gaming.
Gucci’s fusion of heritage and innovation continues with Gucci Cosmos, its immersive exhibition celebrating the 102-year-old brand’s most iconic designs. After its debut in Shanghai, the show moves to London from 11 October to 31 December before travelling to Paris and Kyoto.
Curated by the Italian fashion theorist and critic Maria Luisa Frisa, Gucci Cosmos’ state-of-the-art set was designed by the world-renowned British artist Es Devlin, the creator of acclaimed displays for institutions including Tate Modern and The Royal Opera House, and global recording artists including Beyoncé and Adele.
Devlin fuses pioneering audio, visual and kinetic technology to take the viewer on a journey, experiencing how Gucci’s visionary designs have both reflected and defined the times over the past century. “This exhibition wants to try to show the origin story behind the myth that is Gucci,” she says.
So, what innovation is next? With new Creative Director Sabato de Sarno debuting his first collection for Gucci at Milan Fashion Week in September, a new chapter in the Gucci story is about to begin. And as the House has demonstrated over the past century, anything could happen.
The leading watchmakers delivering spectacular timepieces which are feats of craftsmanship.
LUMINOR LUNA ROSSI
The enduring partnership between watchmakers Panerai and the Italian Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailing team continues with the official sponsor’s five new timepieces inspired by the technical innovation of the yachting world.
The third collaboration between Swiss watchmakers Hublot and renowned tattoo artist and founder of Sang Bleu Maxime Plescia-Büchi, the limited edition Spirit of Big Bang Sang Bleu collection features a faceted ergonomically-enhanced design.
TRADITIONNELLE TOURBILLON RETROGRADE
Founded in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has a rich history in retrograde displays dating back almost 100 years. The Traditionnelle Tourbillon’s hand-engraved, open-worked dial is built on two levels to offer visual depth and a dramatic play of light and shadow.
Nature’s elemental beauty combines with extraordinary human skill to create these breathtaking fine jewellery collections. Explore the latest designs from the world’s premier jewellers where there are no limits to creativity.
British jeweller Graff’s new GRAFFABULOUS collection features one of the greatest selections of precious stones ever seen in a single high jewellery collection. Featuring 80 one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery crafted from an unprecedented 3,600 carats of gemstones, the GRAFFABULOUS collection showcases astonishing levels of artistry. The House introduces the collection as its ode to the formidable forces of nature in a six-chapter campaign photographed by Carlijn Jacobs, culminating with the ‘Goddess of the Sea.’
Piaget also looks to Mother Nature for its muse in its new Metaphoria collection. Consisting of 11 intricately bejewelled watches and 41 pieces of high jewellery, each crafted in Piaget’s Geneva atelier, Metaphoria is a nod to Yves Piaget’s 1969 “21st Century Collection” which established Piaget as a highly experimental and innovative fine jewellery house. Grouped into two thematic chapters, Azureia and Beautanica, Metaphoria blends unexpected natural materials, such as precious petrified wood and insect elytra, with precious metals and gems to bring a living, kinetic energy to the pieces.
RED CARPET COLLECTION
Chopard’s 26-year partnership with the Cannes Film Festival is celebrated with its fittingly titled Red Carpet Collection. To mark the 76th iteration of the festival, Chopard’s artistic director Caroline Scheufele designed an intricate 76-piece collection, paying tribute to the seven arts – cinema, architecture, sculpture, painting, music, literature and dance. Each one-of-kind piece displays extraordinary levels of imagination and artistry, such as a necklace featuring diamond and sapphire feathers crafted to form gossamer-light volutes, in an ode to literature and a tribute to authors.
From superlative in-transit fine dining to the world’s first flying car, these forward-thinking brands are taking luxury aviation to new heights.
HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Elevate your time in transit in Doha at the new Louis Vuitton Lounge by Yannick Alléno. The latest venture in the Maison’s ongoing collaboration with the three-star Michelin chef, the culinary concept serves a refined “multilingual” menu to discerning travellers 24 hours a day. Situated above the Louis Vuitton store in Qatar Duty Free on the central concourse, the bright and airy space is furnished with tables by India Mahdavi and Paola Lenti, and chairs by Martin Eisler. Enjoy baked goods and pastries through to fine dining dishes such as langoustine carpaccio with geranium essence, surrounded by artfully stacked Louis Vuitton trunks, with atelier oï’s vibrant Quetzal bird mobiles soaring overhead.
ALEF ‘MODEL A’ FLYING SUPERCAR
Getting stuck in traffic could be a thing of the past with the arrival in 2025 of California-based Alef Aeronautics “Model A” car. The electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle has received enthusiastic support from investors including venture capitalist Tim Draper and Bugatti and Jaguar designer Hirash Razaghi. With eight rotors integrated into its futuristic frame, “Model A” has a driving range of 200 miles and a flight range of 110 miles, and was recently awarded a special airworthiness certificate by the US Federal Aviation Administration. This, Alef Aeronautics claims, makes it the “world’s first real flying car.”
The world’s largest airline is set to have the world’s largest supersonic fleet, thanks to its order of 20 of Boom Supersonic’s Overture aircraft, with an option for 40 more. Promising a new age of supersonic travel, Overture is being designed to carry 65 to 80 passengers from 2029, and is optimised for speed, safety and sustainability. Running on 100% sustainable aviation fuel, it will fly at twice the speed of modern commercial planes with a range of 4,250 nautical miles. With a flight from Miami to London taking under five hours and with 600 routes planned, Overture is set to transform modern day air travel.
Who says day-to-day life can’t be remarkable? Not these innovative lifestyle brands.
Recently acquired by Capital One for $296 million, Velocity Black is the ultimate membership concierge for the digital age. Its proprietary app’s 24 hour support and rapid response offers members exclusive experiences, and access to luxury travel services and the most-sought-after goods.
The culmination of decades of innovation, Apple’s first spatial computer blends digital content with the physical world. With 23 million pixels per eye, Vision Pro’s ground-breaking 3D camera and revolutionary visionOS feature also enables a three-dimensional interface that users can intuitively control with their eyes, hands and voice.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is on a mission to address global sustainability challenges with its multi-billion dollar NEOM mega-city. Starting from the ground up, this destination is redefining the future of city-making and living.
Imagine living in a city that anticipates your every need. From re-stocking your fridge without you needing to place an order, to providing round-the-clock, individualised healthcare. Can’t attend a meeting? Just send your avatar instead.
This futuristic vision is being made a reality at NEOM, the $490 billion destination in Saudi Arabia, which is set not only to transform the region into a hugely desirable tourist destination but drive a paradigm shift in the future of place-making.
As the jewel in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy beyond its reliance on oil, NEOM’s ambition is to become the world’s first cognitive city. As well as secure 5G, NEOM will build an integrated health, wellbeing and biotech ecosystem to offer individualised care. AI will be harnessed to seamlessly improve every aspect of residents’ lives.
Despite being referred to as a city, NEOM is an intricate network of settlements being constructed from scratch across 26,500 square kilometres in the remote Tabuk Province. NEOM is divided into four distinct regions, maximising the vast area and diverse landscapes. Oxagon will be a visionary industrial port city floating on the Red Sea and a hub for innovative clean industries. The Line, stretching across 170 kilometres but only a land-saving 200 metres wide, is an architecturally revolutionary city with no roads, cars or emissions.
For tourists, Trojena is a mountainous region with an appealing year-round moderate climate, while its sub-zero winter temperatures make it perfect for alpine sports. Sindahlah is NEOM’s luxury island resort, where its 86-berth marina and offshore buoys, as well as its ultra-premium hotels, serviced apartments, restaurants, beach and yacht clubs and world-class golf course, will make it a natural draw for the yachting community when it opens in 2024. NEOM is the land of the future.