“Perfection is unobtainable but Copenhagen is striking one of the best deals right now.” By that way of justification the Danish capital - originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century – was recently elected the world’s most liveable city by the lifestyle magazine Monocle. Copenhagen has undergone a strong urban development with renewal of many of the old boroughs. The cityscape characterized by promenades and waterfronts ooze of modernity and elegance, but the city still has room for the offbeat characters in the Freetown Christiania – founded in the spirit of the hippie movement. I have great admiration for Copenhagen. As professional racing driver I have travelled around the world. But I am still surprised every time I come back. Copenhagen seems to be shrouded in an indefinable grandiose yet modest big city mentality that makes it stand out from other big cities.
Surrounded by water it seems obvious that Copenhagen’s origin as a harbour and a place of commerce is reflected in its name. The beautiful harbour area with Amalienborg palace – winter residence to the Royal family – has always been one of my favourite parts of the capital. A place I always try to take time to visit when I am in Denmark. Because of my profession I now regard the world as my working place. Despite having competed in countries such as Japan, USA and Germany my name has become synonymous with a particular French town; Le Mans. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest active sports car endurance race. It has been held since 1923 and has become legendary for testing the drivers’ and car manufacturers’ abilities within endurance and efficiency. (story continues below)
I have won many championships in auto racing, but my greatest achievement is being the only person to win this prestigious race nine times, six of which were consecutive. Some people have given me the nickname Mr. Le Mans, which is probably not the worst name a driver can get. I feel very fortunate to be part of the history of this great race, and I owe many thanks to the great teams I have been part of and to the teammates, technicians and fans that have played so important roles in my career. It is because of all these people that I am able to compete with the best drivers in the world. If there is one thing I have learned during my career as racing driver it is that concentration, control and a clear mind is paramount if you wish to be successful in motorsports.
I have also obtained an enormous respect for speed and the strong forces that connect the engine, wheels and steering wheel of a car. That is why it concerns me that many people still take drunk driving so lightly. It is a serious problem, and I have great respect for Johnnie Walker and Diageo’s campaigns against drunk driving. I hope I can use the profile I’ve gained through international auto racing to help raise awareness of the importance of making a personal commitment not to drink and drive. We can never be complacent about this issue.
Hamburg, officially called ‘Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’ reflects Hamburg’s ancient history as a part of the medieval Hanseatic League. If you come visit, you’ll find tremendous container ships, avant-garde architecture, romantic piers, maritime museums, private places of longing and green oases stretching along the shoreline, waiting to be explored by passersby. Wide and expansive waterways contribute to the unique charm of this ’blue city’ and at the same time to its clean, urban chic. Hamburg was always and still is a major transport hub in the North of Germany, building a bridge to the rest of the world. When thinking of Hamburg, I can almost feel a fresh breeze playing around my legs and taste the salty sea air on my lips. Sparkling water surfaces are ever-present through the sea itself and the rambling River Elbe, confluenced with the Alster. Also the major city centre is situated around two rivers.
Walking towards the shoreline, you’ll pass a completely new sub-district that evolved in the last years, extending the city centre all the way down to the River Elbe called ‘Hafencity’. It is one of the largest urban development projects in Europe and it varies and changes on a day-to-day basis. Bordering to the ancient warehouse and storehouse complex called ‘Speicherstadt’ you’ll find offices, hotels, shops, official buildings, and residential areas placed in the most fancy buildings, located right at the waterfront. I’ve never seen anything alike as the area seems quite artificial though it’s modern, sublime architecture is exceptional and very impressive to me. The project is a landmark for modern architecture and urban planning, hosting some of Hamburg’s most interesting accommodations such as The ‘Elbphilharmonie’, a concert hall built on top of an old warehouse. (story continues below)
I visited the city for the first time about three years ago and was instantly in raptures over the beautiful cityscape, succeeding in combining old traditions with modern drifts. Post modern glass and steel facades, the patrician mansions of epochs past, baroque churches, historical residential quarters all contribute to this city's landscape. The mercantile glory of the 19th century has been preserved in classical buildings while the characteristic red brick building style is still present. However in the downtown area, the status-conscious air of municipal buildings and offices set the tone. Some of Germany's largest media and publishing companies are located in the city, shaping its contemporary, vibrant character. Young adults from all over Europe set up home in Hamburg that acts as a magnet for movers and shakers driven by their dream to make headway. On the streets you will pass by genuine old sea dogs with fading tattoos on their knuckles, wearing captain’s hats on their grey hair, mingling with young business men rushing through the subways. For me, that is what makes Hamburg’s unique charm.
A play of contrasts that creates a modern urban environment, rooted in its ancient and traditional origin as a maritime nation at the same time. Hamburg has always been populated by innovators, daring to go and explore unknown waters on the search for new quests. Sharing the spirit of the city, the John Walker & Sons Voyager travels the world on the route of its bold ancestors. When this matchless yacht reaches Hamburg’s harbor, some very special guests are going aboard. Christoph Metzelder will be the host for this special event. As a modern pioneer, he is dedicated to his goals just as the historic sailors where, when exploring the seas. No matter if it is his career as a soccer player or his social commitment; he follows his ideals with dedication. Metzelder will welcome visionaries, travel enthusiasts as well as whiskey and luxury lovers on the John Walker & Sons Voyager to share ideas and enjoy some exceptional events.
As a writer and journalist there’s an old world style associated with whisky drinking, whether it’s Don Draper sinking Old Fashioneds in a Manhattan dive bar in the late 50s or going back further, to one of my favorite poets, Louis MacNeice, one of whose most famous love poems comes with its own very distinctive flavour. In Autumn Journal, set in London in the late 1930s he wrote of how, I loved my love with a platform ticket, A jazz song, A handbag, a pair of stockings of Paris Sand— I loved her long. I loved her between the lines and against the clock, Not until death But till life did us part I loved her with paper money And with whisky on the breath. That hard to pin down note of escapism, journeying and otherworldliness and indeed old fashioned glamour couldn’t have been better embodied than in Voyager, a spectacular yacht chartered by John Walker & Sons. The 1920s style boat provided the perfect floating setting for evoking the whisky’s original journeys from Scotland to fans the world over. Under Tower Bridge, with our jazz band and our Mr Fogg’s cocktails and the traffic from the Thames and on the river’s banks staring in nothing short of amazement, Voyager seemed both of the moment, and something from another age.
My co-host for dinner, David Gandy, the face of Johnnie Walker Blue Label taps into old world style without a doubt (with the exception of musician Mr Hudson, he made the rest of us look under-dressed) but is also a reminder of the brand’s astonishing pulling power in the present. My evening began at Cadogan Pier in Chelsea where the Voyager rib picked David and I up and we whizzed like something from James Bond past the Houses of Parliament and the Southbank all the way to Butler’s Wharf. In itself, Gandy’s status as a male supermodel is a reminder of the influence and spending power of women in the luxury world. There’s nowhere where that buoyant trend is more vibrantly demonstrated than in a city like London and a trend that in Spectator Life we try to celebrate and explore. I hope we captured a splice of that vibrancy in our evening with Spectator Life’s guests from the worlds of fashion, film, style and media whether print, digital, TV or film. In a truly globalized city that’s such a hub for creativity, luxury and business it sometimes feels as though the extraordinary has become the expected… I can happily say that there was nobody in our party (not least myself) who wasn’t frankly astonished by the ingenuity and elegance of John Walker & Sons Voyager. I’m just glad that I was able to catch her in London and grateful to have been a tiny part of her astonishing journey. - Olivia Cole, Editor of Spectator Life
I sometimes wish I had been born in a different era - A time when the Thames was bustling with ships heading off to the most remote corners of the world. A time when explorers were explorers and men were men. Most modern adventurers would agree that they are struggling to recreate the pioneering spirit of our forefathers, or fore-explorers. Times have changed but it makes the world no less interesting, indeed, it was the Scott's and the Darwin's that opened up the remotest corners of the world to us. I have always been drawn to the water, perhaps it has something to do with the human body containing more than 70 percent water or maybe it is more visceral? What is it about the water that draws us in? Water has the power to soothe and calm, but it can also turn in an instant becoming a torrid, seething mass of white water. Perhaps it is that uncertainty and volatility that attracts us? Having rowed oceans and been marooned on islands in the middle of vast seas, the ocean has always borne me to another place both physically and metaphysically - a representation of hope and opportunity. It is a fluid highway to other people and lands. Like the explorers from the great heroic era who set off with such uncertainty of return, oceans are the vast arteries of the world that transport us from port to port.
John Walker & Sons Voyager takes us back to another time and place; it is like stepping into another world, one of glamour and beauty. The slow and majestic pace of travel forms an integral part of the yacht’s journey from port to port – and has seen her blending into each cityscape with timeless beauty. Moored alongside the majestic Tower Bridge, John Walker & Sons Voyager compliments London's ever changing skyline, dwarfed by the mighty Shard in the distance, she is representative of the timeless progress of the greatest city on earth. Her lanyards clanking against her masts create a noise all but extinct in the modern capital. The cityscape may have transformed but the river Thames beneath her hull is largely unchanged from that great golden era of shipping when vessels like Voyager would have transported passengers and products around the world. Sit on the deck with a dram of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, close your eyes and you can almost picture the historic scene. Women in large bustle dresses, men in blazers, leather trunks and parasols all preparing to embark on a global journey. For the morning I was aboard Voyager, we were all transported from a sweltering, sun baked city to another time and place. - Ben Fogle, ITV Presenter
Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands and one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe. As Holland is such a small country the Dutch needed to travel the seven seas by which their love for mercantilism grew and became part of the Dutch DNA. As result of its innovative developments in trade Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age.
The Dutch even founded the very first stock exchange in the world. During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds. Nowadays the merchant spirit is still very much alive. Inspiring businessmen and women and artists gain ‘world-fame’ because of the typical Dutch entrepreneurial spirit. An inspiring example is the Amsterdam-based entrepreneur Casper Reinders. By founding numerous restaurants and clubs throughout Amsterdam he is of big influence to the capital city. (story continues below)
A city of big influence to Casper Reinders. He always points out the major importance of his home town. The mix of the typical Amsterdam free spirit combined with an exciting creative industry and smart business mentality inspires Casper as an entrepreneur. He is a true Johnnie Walker of Modern Times, travelling the world to gather antiques and art to style his establishments, but always returns to his safe-haven Amsterdam.
"I travel the world but Amsterdam is without a doubt the city that inspires me most. I'm proud to be Dutch and always happy to come back to the city of freedom, creativity and authenticity. It's remarkable how a city so tiny can be of such immense importance if you look at how many great artists, fashion brands, industrial designers and successful individuals we have."
Often people come to Barcelona for the sea, the city, the light, and the sights of Gaudi. I came to Barcelona for creativity, for my family history, and to start my design firm. I have always been of Catalan ancestry; Barcelona in fact is where my parents married 50 years ago, but I never lived here. Born in Morocco, then moved to Malaga, Bilbao for 10 years then Madrid for University I decided to move to Barcelona after having established myself as a painter. I was spending time living between Paris and the north of England and wanted to return to Spain, specifically to Barcelona, at that time the creative hub for Spain, if not the Mediterranean.
After the Olympic games in 1992, there was a surge of life in Barcelona, a newfound identity, not only for Spain, but globally. Artists throughout Europe moved here, designers & artichitects flocked to the city for inspiration. More restaurants began to open, more tourists started to come, and more hotels continue to open. The energy of the people, the light of the night and the warmth of the day coated a new way of life for me. No longer secluded in the countryside, I returned to Barcelona and opened Contemporain Studio. Currently the office is in a former cotton textile factory located at the border of Exiample & El Borne. We are 1 ‘manzana’ away from the Arc de Triomfe & Park de Citudell , where you can find me & Bosco, my Weinmaraner dog every morning.
The original details of Modernist Catalan Architecture is found throughout the office and used in developing the ideas of projects. It has influenced me to further develop my style of Maximilism design. With the surge of people arriving to Barcelona, we have had a number of projects in restaurants, like the Boca Grande, Chez Coco, Cheri, Casa Paloma, & Bardot. Barcelona is the center of some of the best products from the Mediterranean. The fish, seafood, olive oil, tomatoes and the nearby wine regions of Priorat, Penedes Cava have lent themselves to creating a restaurant hub on the sea. We’ve been working steadily with a number of hotel groups, to give tourists and locals alike a new experience; from the Plaza Cataluna, Praktik Rambla de Cataluna, Diputacio & Provenca, Hotel Pulitzer, Ophelia, and Banys Orientals.
Current hotel projects include the Soho House Barcelona, Delano Hotel, Cotton House from Morgan’s Hotel Group and extending to the Balearic Islands, the Mondrian Hotel in Ibiza and the Cort Hotel Mallorca. O course retail has been growing over the years., We have redesigned the Oysho & Pull & Bear brands for Inditex, Aristocrazy, & BDBA. Barcelona allows me to have that balance of life and remain connected to all of Europe. The constant inspiration of architecture, art, light, and details found in the smallest instances throughout the city I have taken with me to projects throughout the world.
The city itself is an inspiration to progress not only because Ancient Athens’ cultural legacy to the rest of the world is incalculable, but also because it is itself a paradigm of survival through the centuries of dramatic changes it has gone through since first being inhabited in the Bronze Age. From the city’s classical glory where Athenian achievements in philosophy, science, math, drama, and art helped shape Western civilization, to its several declines as well as defeats and occupations by foreign forces, the eons that this city has survived have all left their distinct mark. And these have made it a peculiar multifaceted mix or sum of its Classical, Byzantine, Neoclassical, Modern and Post Modern parts. This city has witnessed both great glory and unimaginable hardship and is still here today to share the story to anyone willing to hear it. Maybe it’s this timelessness and the
feeling of awe it inspires, that go hand in hand with the deep grounded freedom to believe that anything is possible - an element central to the Greek spirit. It’s what has given me the freedom to dream and to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. That’s how Yatzer started YATZER is short for Voyatzer - in turn derived from my surname Voyatzis - my nickname as a child. Someone told me later that in Hebrew the word means “the sensation of guessing what someone will say next before they even get a chance to say it”. It’s like being one step ahead of the game, so I guess I was lucky from the start. At first, Yatzer was a side project while I still worked as a stylist during the day and it was a grueling schedule - I’d come home at 10 o’clock at night and work on my website until 4 in the morning, but it was much easier back then. (story continues below)
I would just upload whatever took my fancy. Having said that, not much has changed since those days. Yatzer is still everything I like, every place I’d like to go, every house I’d like to live in, every object I’d like to own and I still operate on the same principles. The only thing that has changed is that Yatzer has become a passport to the rest of the world. Although I constantly travel the world, my base will always be Athens because it speaks the language of my heart. I live in a small apartment overlooking the entire city, from where I can see Mount Parnitha, where I stood guard over the city - during my military service - when I first decided to start Yatzer. It was there, in the wee hours of the morning, when in one of those rare moments of clarity that you see in the movies, I
realized that my biggest desire was to share my aesthetics with the rest of the world. I wanted to create a digital design collection available to everyone, everywhere, all the time.And it’s amazing to be able to look at your very own inspiration every single day! This city is alive; constantly moving. I have seen great progress, especially lately in the midst of the economic crisis, where new voices are taking the stage, full of imagination and pathos for creation and a sense of purpose and solidarity that is growing stronger every day. And it is this passion that is so apparent in these projects coming out of Greece right now that I so love discovering and showcasing to the world. I feel there is so much talent that can flourish here and it’s not just because I am an optimist at heart.
Some people say that for one week of the year Monaco changes – that the glamour of a race makes it a completely different place. I’m not so sure. As far as I’m concerned, Monaco is always glamorous, there is nowhere else quite like it. This corner of the Riviera is special and steeped in heritage: it’s where princes marry movie stars, casinos drive the economy and palatial yachts idle in the harbour; it’s where style and sophistication are valued as much as any currency. And, of course, it’s home to one of the most spectacular events on the race calendar. There’s no doubt that motor racing has put the world’s spotlight on this tiny principality. Since the 1920s high performance cars have raced around Monaco’s tight, winding streets and today its twists and turns are pretty much the most famous in motor racing: Mirabeau, La Rascasse, Casino – each paint a picture all by themselves. The challenge of driving a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 car on these streets is immense – especially when you’re pushing that car to the absolute limit. There is no more
challenging circuit anywhere in the world. There are points when you’re doing over 180mph, when you could just about fit a sheet of paper between the barrier and the car and if you look, if you’re brave enough to look, you can see exactly what makes Monaco Monaco, the yachts, the landmarks, the people. That intimate connection, that closeness between a driver and his surroundings means that racing at Monaco is unlike anywhere else on earth. Monaco will always be important to McLaren. In 1966, just three years after we were first founded, we made our debut on its narrow streets. We’ve come a long way since then. We won our first race here in 1984 - we’ve won 14 more since. That’s more than any other team and when you consider that Monaco is widely considered to be the most demanding tracks in history, it’s something that we’re pretty proud of. To win here once is a great achievement. To do it again and again means constantly striving for more, pushing yourself harder and further - changing the game. (story continues below)
In the 50 years since Bruce McLaren established the McLaren racing team we have always been hungry for success, that is what has driven us ever forward - as drivers, engineers and mechanics. Our cars have evolved beyond measure and our technology has progressed to levels that were unimaginable when we first began - we never stand still. That ‘ever forward’ journey is Monaco’s story too. When Anthony Noghès organised the first motor race here in 1929 things were different. There was no championship as we know it today. The circuit followed a slightly different route and there were no safety barriers. It was man against man - and man against the buildings. Over time new safety barriers, pits, chicanes - and a diversion around a swimming pool - gradually changed things and created today’s incredible, iconic circuit. As Monaco has changed so has its race. And visa versa. Winning at Monaco is a privilege like no other. It’s what you dream of when you’re coming up through the ranks. The list of past winners is a who’s who of the sport: Juan Manuel -
Fangio, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher - and that’s before you even consider any of the drivers racing today. When I won here I was so excited that I parked my car in wrong place and had to run back to the finish line to meet Prince Albert II for the ceremony - I guess that the magic of Monaco left me totally disorientated! But in Monaco, the magic doesn’t end when the chequered flag is waved - it just keeps going in a different way. The parties here are legendary. They’re all different - hosted on yachts, in nightclubs and private apartments - but, without fail, they capture the very spirit of this place, effortlessly stylish, supremely sophisticated. It takes about six weeks to turn these streets into the circuit that we all know so well and three weeks to return the place to normal. But when the parties have finished, the noise has subsided, the safety barriers are removed, the teams are packed-up and gone and the drivers ready for their next race, one thing simply doesn’t change –and that’s the glamour of Monaco.
If you don’t believe in fairy tales, you don’t need to come here. Here the time moves differently. And there are no nights… Here everyone can create miracles. And become be who they want to be.
Here can be snowy in May. And the joy lasts for hours. Here there is gravity and everybody is up in the sky. Here shadows are sold and dreams are bought. (story continues below)
Here you can dance till early morning, and find yourself on the wonderful yacht. Here the audacious newcomers are loved, and those who went directly from the ‘yesterday’ to the ‘tomorrow’. Here you can fly and be a real friend.
This is the best place on Earth. The course of action. The place of action. Cannes is not just a city or just a festival, Cannes is a condition and position. If you don’t believe in fairy tales, you don’t need to come here.
Tucked deep in a cleft on the ragged coast of Liguria, Portofino should be able to hide its glories from prying outside eyes. But - perhaps because of its relative isolation - a once sleepy fishing village has become an icon of global exclusivity. Elegance, style, heritage, refinement – this Italian jewel has become a byword for them all. It is still home to some fishing craft, remnants of its history, a safe haven for those who sought their living from the gifts of the Mediterranean. But today they are outnumbered by the yachts – a clue, if one were needed, to the changing fortunes of Portofino. Today this tiny village is home to less than 500 ‘genuine’ locals but year after year thousands more are won over by its timeless appeal. It’s the holiday home of the jet set; the private party destination of celebrated actors, models and musicians; the luxury destination for society’s elite. Step back 100 years and that story was just beginning. British
aristocrats and European travellers were just starting to explore this unspoiled corner of Italy. But its fame didn’t take long to spread and by the mid-20th century the likes of Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman could be seen strolling its narrow pavements or relaxing in its intimate piazza. Tourism had become its business, celebrity its currency. I first visited in 2010 for a fashion shoot and everything I’d heard was true. Portofino is beautiful and romantic - the setting is extraordinary and the views are picture-perfect. But more than that, there is something about this secluded village that captures the very essence of Italian style. Portofino is effortlessly sophisticated and deeply traditional, the embodiment of a generations-old commitment to luxury and excellence – it is organically elegant. Italy will always be important to me...(story continues below)
In many ways it’s where I learnt my profession and made my mark. At a time when the fashion was for androgynous male models, I found kindred spirits in Italian designers who were prepared to take a risk, to challenge and change the industry. I loved their ambition, their commitment to creating iconic imagery, their vision for celebrating those things that are classically masculine. At an important time for the fashion industry as a whole, we shared a passion for change and innovation – and, perhaps more importantly, the conviction to see it through. Today, of course, those values are thriving in fashion houses across Europe, not least in the country of my own birth, Britain, where craft and invention know no limits. In the world of fashion, Italian ideals and British principles are comfortable bedfellows, each informing and inspiring the other, driving new levels of creativity, thinking and accomplishment. The times are changing and in an
ever-evolving world of digital photography, online content and apps, Portofino is, to my mind, a pretty good metaphor for the best way to go about things: be authentic, stay true to the values that are important but grow with the times. The hillsides around this extraordinary village are dotted with private and secluded villas, the bay and harbor act as temporary homes to floating modern luxury palaces and the celebrities who walk its streets have moved-on from old-style Hollywood glamour to include the likes of Madonna, Heidi Klum, Beyoncé and Eva Mendez. But its spirit is still that encountered by its early tourists – warm, rich and relentlessly charming. Portofino is both history and the present, comfortable hand-in-hand; a story of heritage and progress interwoven; style and craftsmanship seamlessly joined. This iconic port is the Riviera destination and the perfect departure point for a new adventure in luxury.
It’s hard to imagine that less than a century ago travel was more of a necessity than a luxury for most people. Pioneering business owners, including Sir Alexander Walker, made their living by selling their goods from port to port. His visionary leadership ensured that his family’s whiskies, traveled to the four corners of the world and became firmly established as
the leading luxury whisky house. To mark their centenary in 1920, the Walker family were so inspired by what they experienced during this journey that they commissioned a luxury travel guide called “Around the World.”...(story continues below)
To mark the arrival from Asia to Europe of John Walker & Sons Voyager, a luxury yacht that reimagines those epic ocean journeys, “Around the World” is being recreated for the modern day. This site captures contemporary stories of progress from inspirational Game Changers hand-picked
from across the region who embody the spirit of the Walker family. Their stories of progress and innovation will be revealed as Voyager journeys around some of Europe’s most iconic ports in a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit of Sir Alexander Walker. Join us for a journey without boundaries!
John Walker & Sons Voyager has arrived in Europe. Showcasing the next leg of the epic adventure and on the eve of its first major event in Portofino Italy, the “journey without boundaries” continues.