Lotus Arts De Vivre opens boutique Dubai
With its dazzling array of necklaces, bracelets, furniture and art pieces, Lotus Arts De Vivre is among the largest single-piece jewellry producers in the world.
Having opened 31 years ago in Bangkok as a hobby for socialite Helen von Bueren, the homeware and jewellry store now spans across Asia and has a footprint in France, Istanbul, Russia, the UK, the USA and now Dubai.
Co-founder and Chairman Rolf von Bueren has a goal to preserve heritage and return to the crafts, all through his products. From bold animal themed homeware to handcrafted ruby and gold, dragon cufflinks, the main is doing a doing a pretty good job at reaching that goal. Esquire Middle East spoke to Von Bueren at the opening of the City Walk Dubai store
ESQ: Thai and Asian culture lies at the heart of the brand, what is it about these cultures that you find so endearing?
Rolf Von Bueren: I grew up in a German-like cult after the war. I remember every time we went for a shop, I would see this post card with tropical images on it, it became embedded in my head that I had to go to the tropics. As fate would have it, a company approached me asking me to Thailand and set up its agency. That’s where my love of Asian culture began.
Asia is so vast and vaired that it’s easy to get cultures confused. In Japan there is zero culture, the Shinto temple is an empty space, so the whole idea of decorating something is not existent. They do have beautiful kimonos, however that is a reflection of Chinese culture, where the decoration is textiles and wonderful coats. In India there is a culture of jewellry. It is mainly for men and originated from the royal families as they wore big jewellry whilst sitting on big elephants. so that’s the Indian culture. The Arabian culture is also different, its very religion heavy. Asian culture as a whole can vary massively, I love it all.
Rolf Von Bueren, Founder of Lotus Arts De Vivre
So you talk about raw materials a lot, can you talk us through some of the ones you use and why?
Well the reason we use raw materials is partly to protect us from competition, the reason being, a traditional jeweller has 40 plus partners which are all set for different pieces, the minute he adds another material the production process become very difficult. There are actually a few people in the jewellery world today, who have followed us and are using wood. It’s the opposite of mainstream jewellery, when we go to an auction house they say sorry we can’t sell that as it’s not mainstream enough, but that protects us from day to day competition.
Tradition and culture seems at the heart of the brands history, how do you try and keep things relevant to a modern consumer?
Well we have a big following of young people and produce pieces to suit them, things that are not for a faint hearted buyer, which are statement based and create a wow effect.
So is the Lotus customer someone who is statement based?
The lotus customer is very rare and would have the self-confidence to buy something bold and wear it with pride. They always come back for more.
How involved are you with the design process of the pieces?
I do most of the design myself.
Do you have a big team that works with you?
Yes, 16 people.
Tell us about the production process?
I give the team ideas which is called the concept phase, from there sketches are produced. I then improve those sketches and we make a prop product, once that looks good in tri- dimensional terms, we then say ok let’s do it. My son then comes in from a technical perspective and says what can and can’t be done. I always tell my design team, you need to design a dream then the system will strip it down to what it should be, that how we do it.
What’s your favourite piece? Or are you not allowed to say…
I love them all.
How important is the Middle East for you as a market?
We’ve done exhibitions in the region before, place like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey. Turkey is a big market for us, very big. Turkey and Egypt are actually important influencers to the Middle East culturally.
How often do new pieces get introduced to the store or online? Is it seasonal?
Every year we come up with three or four new ranges. We have such a narrow customer base so fresh product is very important, lots of customers come to the shop and say ‘do you have anything new?' and if we don’t they close the door. But the minute we have something new they come in and look because they are collectors at the end of the day.
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