Uncommon thoughts from four masters of the fast lane
“Luxury products these days are designed to fall apart after a certain amount of time,” says the chief executive doubling as my lunch companion as we dine over an enviable view of the Mediterranean Sea. Open walled apartments look out onto a winding, sunny street of the French Riviera lined by limited edition high-performance sport cars. I taste a bite of Coquille Saint Jacques as our conversation takes a turn down the philosophical road of the high net worth lifestyle. If manufacturers are cutting quality and producing goods that no longer last – branding them as luxury – there seems to be little point in using the term. The concept of luxury has become so diluted that its justifiable definition stands in peril. Luxury, I think to myself, is this gorgeous Mediterranean view.
DeluxePad sits down with four different personalities living a kind of King Midas lifestyle to answer a single question: What is luxury? From a professional gambler to a Russian billionaire, an Italian business tycoon, and a Monegasque yacht magnate, here are their thoughts.
Australian professional gambler. Founder and owner of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania.
Luxury isn’t something we want that we don’t need. It is something possessed that we haven’t earned. Because we are outnumbered by the dead, we alone have the luxury of time. Time to experience joy. And time to appreciate the difference between luxury and avarice.
I just ordered a Tesla S electric car, a car that affords me the luxury of self-delusion. It assuages my guilt concerning the negative consequences of my impact on the planet.
I have serious asthma, but I enjoy the luxury of being mostly symptom free. The likelihood of my having asthma is increased by my first-world childhood. And the likelihood of surviving without debilitation is enhanced by my first-world adulthood. I have the luxury of seeing shades of grey.
I remember, when I was little, the certainty that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy would visit. And I remember, a little later, enjoying the unconditional love of god, given to me with rules that enabled me to know who was right and who was wrong. I had the luxury of naiveté.
Formerly of the Italian manufacturing and processing conglomerate, Galbani. Earned a degree in Contemporary Sacred Art from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, and today owns a range of luxury hotels, restaurants, and the Venetian chandelier company, Barovier & Toso.
Luxury has a lot to do with simplicity. A luxurious life or object doesn’t have to be very expensive. Certainly luxury has much to do with beauty. Beautiful objects – fine art – is expensive because it is worth the price. But there are luxurious things in life that don’t cost a thing, like spending time on an island in the Venetian lagoon such as Torcello or Mazzorbo, taking the time to sit and enjoy, to look around you. I stayed at the Venissa resort on Mazzorbo Island where I feel it is so much more luxurious than the big 5-star hotels on Venice proper. It is so much simpler there. Down to earth and unpretentious, there is a sense of tranquillity. Peace and quiet have a lot to do with luxury when it comes to lifestyle. You are on this wonderful island but you’re not paying an exorbitant price for the beauty you’re experiencing. The truth is, if you have good wine, and good bread, and good olive oil, then you’re happy. This is luxury.
Russian art collector and billionaire. Founder and owner of the Faberge Museum in Baden-Baden, the first private Russian- owned museum beyond Russia.
Luxury by definition is something very rare, very expensive, and something not vital for basic existence. Luxury is different things for different people. For a Russian factory worker, having a brand new imported car is a luxury because buying one puts a serious strain on his personal budget, and at the end of the day, within the framework of his social group, he really does not need an imported car and could easily do with a much cheaper one. But by buying that imported car, the factory worker is trying to make a statement that he is somehow more successful than others in his social group.
For the world’s wealthiest people, buying a painting for 200 million US dollars or a private island is a luxury. They certainly have the funds for such a purchase, but they will think very carefully about it because it puts a certain strain on their budget, and in the end of the day they really do not need either of these items. The island and painting are status symbols, however, and they serve as a sign of one’s intense ambition and desire to be recognized as more successful than their peers.
Monaco-based yachting magnate. President of Moravia Group and Chief Executive Officer of Radio Monte Carlo Network.
People today confuse cost with worth. It’s not because it costs a lot that it’s luxury. Taking the time to not do anything is luxury – and it doesn’t cost you anything. The simplest things in life are this way. Sometimes you have the perfect piece of bread with the perfect piece of ham on the top of a mountain, and this is luxury. So, it’s a question of perspective.
People live their lives now for other people, in an attempt to fit into the parameters of social media. They no longer live for themselves. Is luxury to have the latest iPhone to take a picture of this beautiful view, or is it to sit down and actually take all the beauty of this scenery in and have it engraved in you for the rest of your life?
In yachting – a luxury sector – the best time you will have is when you will take the small tender and go in search of small, secluded beaches alone with your family and at that point you become free, the master of your decisions and the sole keeper of your time. As opposed to mega yachts, the tender gives your child an opportunity to look to you for protection; you’re the one running the boat in charge of both his and your destiny. The relationship is totally different than if a professional crew is running it for you, you enter in symbiosis with your child or loved one. Luxury is the time you spend with the people that matter to you, people to whose lives you bring added value, and they in turn make you appreciate love, friendship, parenthood.
Luxury is when you can afford to pass on the business deal of your life just to enjoy taking care of your family. Luxury is being able to sit down and be at ease with kings or homeless, enjoying their company and enriching their lives while they enrich you in return with their presence.
Article by Allison Zurfluh