Throughout history, royals, aristocrats and those seeking to signal their place in the upper echelons of society have used great houses and patronage of the arts as potent symbols. This, our annual royal issue, celebrates the sweetest fruits of those commissions, spanning hundreds of years, from the ancestral seat of Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur (p.154) to the bespoke fragrances of French perfume house Henry Jacques, which created scents for HH Sheikh Zayed (p.114).
We were honoured to be granted exclusive access to the resolutely contemporary, yet suitably spectacular, Riyadh residence of HRH Prince Khalid Al Saud who, as a trained architect, was perfectly placed to create a well-designed home for himself (p.144). The finished property, with chic interiors by Robyn Jensen, skillfully balances tradition with modernity, which Prince Khalid attributes to his studies in Switzerland and England. “I wanted to bring some of the positive design values from different societies back to Saudi Arabia – primarily simplicity, but one that is steeped in elegance,” he told AD Middle East. He has certainly achieved that in his own home.
Paolo and Maite Bulgari also graciously invited us into their breathtaking Marrakech home, which they wanted to feel authentically Moroccan, yet give a nod to Maite’s Spanish heritage (p.122). The work of decorator Pablo Paniagua – and the many artisans he commissioned – has resulted in spaces that are as timelessly elegant as a Bvlgari necklace. There is plenty more to discover in the following pages, including ceramic artist Hitomi Hosono’s impossibly pretty pots (p.56) for British heritage brand Wedgwood, which became renowned in the 18th century following commissions from Queen Charlotte of England and Catherine the Great of Russia. Hosono’s fresh take on the iconic Portland Vase demonstrates that it might just be possible to improve on perfection. Enjoy the issue!
1 Samode Mahal in Jaipur, one of the beautiful royal palaces shown in new book Glorious Hotels of India, which is extracted in our Portfolio section 2 Myself at the Burj Al Arab 3 Paolo and Maite Bulgari's stunning Marrakech home has timeless elegance