A Sumptuous Riviera Maya Resort Fit for a Duchess, and Other News

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Esencia Mansion. Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

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A Sumptuous Riviera Maya Resort Fit for a Duchess

If you happen to be an Italian duchess in need of a little tropical escape from all that dolce vita, there are worse places in the world than the shimmering beaches of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The rest of us can follow her example and book a stay at Kevin Wendle’s Esencia Mansion, a 12,000-square-foot hotel that crowns the 50-acre estate established long ago by one such duchess in Xpu-Ha, tucked between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. 

Wendle, along with artistic director Juan Carlos Gutierrez and architect Petter Svensson, tapped longtime collaborator Giancarlo Valle to update the sumptuous mansion. Valle erected a sculptural staircase and custom designed 20 furnishings for the various suites and villas to complement the locally sourced ceramics and rugs. Artwork—including pieces by Charlotte Perriand, Fernando Botero, and Betty Woodman—was sourced from Wendle’s own collection. Or made onsite: Marcel Dzama designed tiles for the swimming pool while staying at the property during the pandemic, while Humberto Ramirez spent months painting a mural for the speakeasy, which hides, like an Italian duchess, behind a thicket of jungle greenery. –Jesse Dorris

The Maserati GranTurismo Folgore. Image courtesy of Maserati

Maserati unveiled the fully electric GranTurismo Folgore during Milan Design Week.

Maserati revealed the GranTurismo Folgore, the brand’s first fully electric car, during Milan Design Week. The limited-edition vehicle, named One Off Luce, was a “chromatic mirrored monolith” engraved with a “dynamic laser-etched pattern.” Klaus Buse, Maserati’s head of design said the GranTurismo Folgore is a “statement of innovation and sustainability,” adding that the company’s “forward-thinking attitude and innovation” is reflected in the car’s design.

Sightseers are damaging an enormous reclining female sculpture by Charles Jencks. 

Northumberlandia, a giant reclining female sculpture that’s made of rock, clay, and soil, urgently needs repairs due to visitors ignoring designated paths. The artwork’s custodians have appealed to the public to stick to the paths and are planning to install more signs, but the last thing they want is a blizzard of unsightly signs or to fence parts of the sculpture off. The sculpture, created by American landscape designer Charles Jencks, is the world’s largest sculpted human form and attracts about 110,000 visitors annually.

Arlington National Cemetery will remove a monument criticized for racist depictions. 

Arlington National Cemetery is beginning the process of dismantling the Confederate Memorial, a Baroque-style monument that has been on its grounds since 1914. The memorial has been controversial for its depiction of African Americans as “loyal slaves” and for its representation of a white soldier kissing his child being held up by a Black woman. The monument’s bronze elements will be relocated, but its future home remains unclear.

Qondesa Tower by MAD Architects. Photography by Mir

MAD Architects teases the Qondesa Tower, slated to become Quito’s tallest building.

MAD Architects has revealed the Qondesa tower, its first project in South America. Slated to become Quito’s tallest building, the tower is designed to integrate nature into high-density living. Its twisting vine-like façade draws from the city’s natural surroundings, with stone coloring nodding to the facades of Old Town, making it an elegant landmark to the skyline.

Adidas’s Confirmed app will integrate Web3 for early access to select product drops.

Adidas has partnered with web3 company Tokenproof to incorporate token-gating into its Confirmed app, enabling the company to grant exclusive access to drops, offers, or events through NFTs. Users can view Adidas’ latest release from its web3 project, Into the Metaverse, but will need to connect a crypto wallet holding specific Adidas NFTs to purchase products. The partnership also gives Adidas the opportunity to personalize offers and invites for customers based on the NFTs they hold while also collecting valuable customer data.

Sotheby’s is launching an on-chain peer-to-peer secondary marketplace for NFT art.

Sotheby’s is scaling up its non-fungible token (NFT) art offerings with the launch of a peer-to-peer secondary marketplace. Sotheby’s Metaverse will allow collectors to make direct transactions on an integrated sales system that will operate fully on-chain via Ethereum and Polygon networks, with users able to pay in ETH or MATIC. The platform will feature a rotating collection of works from 13 leading digital artists. A commitment to artist royalties through smart contracts further emphasizes its dedication to the NFT community.

A fungus that breaks down polypropylene plastic. Photography by Amira Farzana Samat/Unviersity of Sydney

Today’s attractive distractions:

For a brief moment during midcentury, men-only flights took to the skies.

New York City’s most bizarre secret penthouse floats above Bryant Park.

Taylor Swift’s frenzied Eras Tour is helping revive tourism in Las Vegas.

Scientists discover fungi that can eat polypropylene plastic in 140 days.

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