As humans we are programmed to seek out the beautiful because it brings us pleasure. Admiring an exquisitely prepared meal, a finely honed Dutch masterpiece or just watching a gorgeous sunset — these things bring colour to our lives.
Aesthetics is inherently about a communication of order — a set of visual cues that communicate forethought and sound design. Aesthetics is an expression of pride and creativity over and above the basic functionality of an object. It’s a way to elevate mind and purpose.
In our social-media-obsessed world it is easy to confuse aesthetics with materialism. But the opposite is the case. True aesthetics is not a love of excess. It is an act of slowing down and taking time to appreciate. It is the opposite of mass production; the antidote to homogeneity. It is about enjoying the moment; not picking excerpts for a selfie. It is about carefully curating your wardrobe, not buying cheap clothes only to throw them away.
In keeping with this, on the cover we feature the innovative work of Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, who 3D prints her designs as an alternative to the wasteful fashion industry. We hear from Michelle Bang, a young designer who has set up a clothing line using unwanted off-cuts from designer brands. We hear from the billionaire scion Adrian Cheng, whose K11 foundation has teamed up with Vivienne Westwood to promote anti-consumption to Chinese millennials.
In our Great Aesthetes section we celebrate the work of legendary architects and designers: from Anna Sui to Annabelle Selldorf, Jean Nouvel to Carlo Scarpa. We venture onto the intriguing island of Naoshima to wonder at the Benesse art collection owned by reclusive Japanese billionaire Soichiro Fukutake and have lunch at the restaurant that has just been voted the most world’s most beautiful. Last but not least, we catch up with the doyen of stilettos, Prof Jimmy Choo, who is still immersed in the art of the shoe.
To subscribe to Billionaire and receive your copy of the Aesthete Issue, click here.