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Mercedes S-Class All-New MBUX System Revealed

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STUTTGART The Mercedes S-Class has for some time been going backwards. Witness the three touchscreens and myriad of control options made for rear passengers of its latest model. Going backwards, but sure to leave behind the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 in the true luxury hallmarks of finesse and magic carpet ride comfort, when it premieres in a few months. Sat Bal    

And the back just got better with passengers enjoying the same extensive infotainment and comfort features as the front occupants. Rear controls include the just revealed MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) Interior Assist system and the voice control assistant "Hey Mercedes".

This second generation MBUX learn-capable system now makes its  debut in the new S-Class. The vehicle interior is even more digital and intelligent: OLED-brilliant displays feature on up to five large screens. OLED technology adds to the ‘wow’ and the control/comfort functions.

It's now about fewer buttons and more options for personalisation and intuitive operation. So the driver gets the new 3D driver display which allows a spatial view at the touch of a button for the first time. A real three-dimensional effect - without 3D glasses.

The voice assistant "Hey Mercedes" is more talkative and a better listener. It can work even without calling the activation keyword for some actions like accepting a telephone call or displaying the navigation map.

"Hey Mercedes" can now also explain where the first-aid kit is, or how to connect a smartphone via Bluetooth. Several microphones tell the system where the voice is coming from and flashing ambient lighting identifies the current speaker.

PIN entry is now supported by a new authentication method for higher security. New biometric and interconnected authentication functions mean security encompasses fingerprint, face and voice recognition. This allows access to individual settings or verification of digital payment processes from the vehicle.

Mercedes says the USP of MBUX is its cross-networking capacity with vehicle systems and sensor data. Thus the exit warning function in the S-Class now uses cameras to recognise that an occupant wants to leave the vehicle. If another road user is approaching in the blind spot, the active ambient lighting becomes part of the exit warning system and flashes red.

The driver's attention level is also monitored. The driver is warned by 'Attention Assist' if it detects any signs of sleepiness. If the driver says "I'm tired", an activation of its 'Energising  comfort' control begins.

Screen content can be quickly and easily shared with other passengers who can also select or change navigation destinations is from the back. The ambient lighting can be individually set by remote, even from home. And domestic systems and home appliances can also be linked to the vehicle and voice-controlled thanks to the Smart Home function

Seven profiles can now be stored in the Cloud as part of Mercedes me and used in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the new MBUX generation.

Two different head-up displays (HUDs) are available and the larger HUD provides augmented reality content. On navigating, for example, animated turn-off arrows are virtually projected ahead onto the road lane. Relevant information is projected into the driver's field of vision at a virtual distance of circa 10 metres.

Human-centred intuitive technology is the takeaway here. This MBUX teaser is a trailer for the S-Class's forthcoming premiere and we know that the next gen features that huge infotainment screen which dominates the driver console.

Can't wait to see the rest of the S-Class W223, scheduled to premiere in September. Nor, presumably, can Audi. Or BMW...

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Nanny State

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LONDON Two high flying companies have devised a novel solution to ease travel for parents and infants. Welcome to the “world’s first, flying nursery.” Chris Page

FlyEliteJets CEO, Christopher Williams-Martin (and dad of two) saw that private flying, while great for professionals, wasn’t so great for families. His company’s  Ultra-high Net Worth (UHNW) clients often used aircraft for weekends and family holidays when the CEO realised that the jets had insufficient space and facilities for babies and young children to feed, play and relax.  

Enter award winning interior designer Jenny Allan whose company Jenny Allan  Design was enlisted to create a warm, welcoming and inviting space for UHNW parents and their kids aboard the ultra-long-range jets and VVIP airliners which frequently fly trans-continental.

The results lie here in the pictures of the Flying Nursery, claimed an industry game changer. Other private jet operators have reported high demand to Red Carpet from charter clients to whom family safeguarding is the top priority, fuelled by the Covid pandemic.

Jenny Allan Design literally filled the gap by installing child-friendly comforts into the aft cabin of jets, an area that is traditionally underutilised. By creating a dedicated space for mums, dads, nannies and children with direct access to the rear WC and baggage hold it becomes an onboard haven for children and parents alike with facilities to eat, sleep, play, relax and refresh.

Jenny Allan said: “We wanted to design something unique that’s never been done before on a private jet and to revolutionise the way clients travel with their children. In this Gulfstream G650 we added a starlit ceiling to create a wonderful sense of atmosphere in the cabin, ideal for bedtime reading.

“For more fun and whimsical details, we included embossed teddy motives on the seat headrests, a wigwam with cloud cushions that can easily be folded away during take-off and landing as well as a mini rocking horse and shelves for children’s toys andbooks. It was also really important that the space appealed to mums and dads, so we opted for a calming, tranquil, neutral décor rather than too many bold or bright colours that jar the senses.”

Other design details include a sofa that converts into a double bed, games consoles for older children as well as three TVs to create a space for the whole family to enjoy. Further aesthetic details include fabric padded bulkheads, and sycamore veneer doors with brass inlays.

Christopher Williams-Martin commented: “I was immediately taken by Jenny’s work which is cosmopolitan yet will have universal appeal with its inviting colour schemes and functional design. We needed a designer who could visualise the brief, was approachable and engaging and discreet. Jenny is all of the above and a genuine gifted talent with the accolade of Designer of the Year.”

The Flying Nursery can typically be fitted out in under two months in a private hangar, with Williams-Martin and Allan on hand every step of the way to provide a bespoke internal design space. The directors welcome the venture as simply the start to evolution in aviation.   

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Kaws, Retna and Hirst at 'XXI'

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LONDON Banksy, Jeff Koons and Damian Hirst are just some of the luminaries showing at ‘XXI’, a landmark contemporary art exhibition launched at the new HOFA Gallery in London’s Mayfair.

UPDATE - The Covid crisis has seen the HOFA Gallery take this exhibition online.

Ground-breaking digital art investments platform, ARTCELS, in partnership with HOFA Gallery, is launching a new virtual contemporary art exhibition, titled 'XXI' on Monday 4th May at 6pm (BST) / 1pm (EST).

ARTCELS is set to create a new art experience which their investors and the global art community can enjoy from the comfort of their homes.  Press can access the exhibition three days earlier for a special preview from Friday 1st May from 3pm.

It will be the first-of-its-kind to feature blue-chip contemporary artists—Banksy, George Condo, Kaws, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons— together in a virtual art exhibition, and other leading international artists, including Ilhwa Kim, Retna, Daniel Arsham, Anthony James and Joseph Klibansky, in a 3-dimensional, HD virtual show designed to be immersive, interactive and realistic.

Kaws

At ‘XXI’ rare and unseen works by contemporary artists such as Kaws, RETNA and Damian Hirst are set to cause a stir. These include the Blame Game Portfolio, a set of 10 prints by Kaws which has been shrouded in mystery since its shadow début in 2016. Its sprightly colours have the intrigue of a jigsaw puzzle, both playful and ominous. Blame Game is poised to be a favourite and is the most valuable artwork on display at ‘XXI’.

RETNA’s Los Ne El Barrio (headline image) also brings rarity to the exhibition with its abstract lettered painting, finished with rare blue diamond dust in the abstract art sought so many art connoisseurs.

Heart Spin Painting

The radial symmetry of Heart Spin Painting by Damian Hirst evokes the large reproduction spin painting which covered the floor of the stadium for the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games of 2012. 

 ‘XXI’ features a portfolio of carefully sourced artworks collectively worth more than $1M and other participating artists include Joseph Klibansky, George Condo, Zhuang Hong Yi and Ilhwa Kim.

HOFA co-founder, Elio D'Anna, said "We are proud to unveil this project which has been over 12 months in the making. It’s going to be an extravaganza of contemporary art. We are bringing the crème of contemporary art together for a ground-breaking show which we know viewers will enjoy.”

HOFA’s new gallery is at 11 Bruton St in Mayfair.

Glen Scotia's Whisky Highlights

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CAMPBELTOWN Glen Scotia brings two luxury single malt Scotch whiskies for the connoisseur’s Christmas wish list. Sat Bal 

Glen Scotia 45 Year Old leads the charge at £3,800 an exclusive single malt limited to 150 bottles worldwide. Each bottle comes in a handcrafted walnut presentation featuring a delicate tile that’s engraved with the individual bottle number and tasting notes.

At 43.8% ABV the notes are:

Nose-

Bold coastal elements, sea-soaked basalt leads into thick fruit of ripe pineapple and crisp green apple before floral notes of rose, vanilla and toasted oak come through.

Taste-

Viscous oily mouthfeel coats the tongue. Caramel sweetness at first then juicy tropical fruit, with pineapple, mango and watermelon rounded by vanilla and honey.

Finish-

Long mouth-watering finish with sea-salt and lime citrus before warming cinnamon and ground ginger spice.

Distilled in 1973, the whisky matured in refill bourbon casks for over three decades before being finished in first fill bourbon under the watchful eye of master distiller, Michael Henry until bottling in 2019.

Next from Campbeltown distillery, ‘the whisky capital of the world’ is the Glen Scotia 25 Year Old at £275 a bottle.

Think seaside tang, orange and juicy red apples and caramel sweetness. The nose has hints of vanilla oak, with the subtle notes of sea spray and spicy aromatic fruits.

Glen Scotia 25 Year Old has been recognised for its distinctive flavours across the globe, scooping a Double Gold medal at the prestigious 2019 San Francisco Spirits Competition.

 Click them up at:

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