#culture /art & design


Art de Vivre Lifestyle Group Head Arthur de Villepin Would Love to Dine with Jesus

Jun 01, 2016

Arthur de Villepin (Credit: Simon C)

What is the art of living?

With so many different projects within my group, Art de Vivre, I needed a common vision. Even though each brand has different partners, it’s important for us to reach the same vision, principles and synergy.

The Art de Vivre way of looking at life means having more of an expectation with all you do, what you eat and drink. It means being more ambitious for yourself, your life and the projects you put yourself into. The more you enjoy and invest in your lifestyle, the more your life will bring it back for you.

I’m here to make Hong Kong think for five minutes that their day and their journey can be more than just about money-making. A lot of people go through life living one day after another not knowing why they’re living. It’s a reflection on what the priorities are for people, and we need to take a step back. When we had the photo gallery at IFC Mall, the greatest thing was seeing brokers and traders going into the gallery and enjoying the photos with a sandwich.

I’m such a pro-Hong Kong guy. I love this place. I came for an internship in 2008 with the Olympics and I fell in love with the people. They would look at you in a different way than people would look at me in Paris. My father was in politics and people would assume, because you’re the son of so-and-so, they’d scrutinise what you want to do. Here, they don’t care where you come from. If you’re ambitious, you speak well and you put your words at the level of your actions, then you’re good and they want to work with you.

I really look into investing in people. I would never work with a partner, no matter how rich or how good he is at his work, if we don’t have the same philosophy. I always think the quality of a great entrepreneur is that when they fold they always bounce back up again. Churchill said: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”.

If you were in a rock band...

I’d love to be the lead singer.

Best thing about living in Hong Kong?

The energy. Living here, you have to be good, you have to be strong, or you won’t make it.

Your pickup line with your girlfriend?

Explaining to her the similar energies between wine and women: wine is about the emotion that it leaves in your memory. It’s about the long-lasting finish after you’ve drunk it. That’s the same with people. If you’re fun, you’re good and you can talk, that’s nice. But five years later, I’m not going to remember you. But if we’ve had a great discussion and you left a great memory, I’m going to remember for the next 10 years. Women are like that. It’s not about great sex, it’s about the lingering memory they leave you.

One of Zao Wou-Ki’s paintings from The Graphic Work (Credit: ImagineChina)

If you could own only one piece of art, what would it be?

One of Zao Wou-Ki’s paintings. They’re more than just nice-looking. You want a painting where you look at it every day and it whispers something different.

What would you do in politics?

I would tackle wealth inequality. Yes, money can lead to a certain way of life, but at some point, if it blinds you so you don’t see what’s in front of you and the disaster it can create, you live in frustration. I really want to go into politics at some point.

Key value your parents taught you?

Tolerance and also to constantly question the purpose behind what you’re doing. There’s a quote: “The funny thing in this world is that the dumbest people are the surest of themselves and the smartest people are full of doubts.” I think that’s saying that what’s important is that, if you want to be good, you should live with doubts and questions and wonder what life is all about.

Dream guest at a dinner party?

Jesus. I would love to have him at the table.

The hashtag you use most?

#chill.

What annoys you?

Questions that people don’t ask me – when they don’t go beyond the idea of trying to understand what you’re doing.

Art de Vivre combines wine and art (Credit: ImagineChina)

Your worst habit?

Wine is my worst and best habit.

When are you happiest?

In the morning, when I wake up with my girlfriend: what a great way to start my day.

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Janice Jann