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Lifestyle
by Helena Lombard

A Decade of Decadence

Can you believe it’s already 2016?

If this appeals to you, it’ll cost you $1.5-million (R21.5-million) to float to dreamland.
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Time is going so quickly and everyone seems to be having a hard time trying to keep up. They do say time flies when you’re having fun and let’s face it, as a species we’ve definitely evolved to indulge all our senses. That being said, there’s an exclusive, elitist sub-group that do it even better: the big spenders who live and breathe a life motto that money is no object and that it can, in fact, buy happiness. We take a little trip back to the future and look at a few of the most luxurious, bizarre and interesting inventions of the past decade.

Ruijssenaars Magnetic Floating Bed

At Afropolitan we’re all for comfort, and if we had to describe the ultimate bed it would be a king size bed, lovingly made up with soft pillows, a comfy duvet and a bedside table, filled with books and a lamp close enough so that you don’t have to get out of bed to switch off the light once you’re tucked in. To many people, this is luxury, that small indulgence after a long day at the office. The inventor of the air mattress, however, would disagree. When you think about an air mattress, you probably picture the kind you drag along on camping trips, the kind that once blown up deflates to the shape of the heaviest parts of your body in under an hour. But think again: in 2007 Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars invented a bed that levitates. It may all sound a bit David Copperfield-ish, but it’s actually just very clever science. Inspired by the 1968 sci-fi film, 2001: A Spacey Odyssey, Ruijssenaars designed the floating bed by using a matching set of repelling magnets: one set built into the base of the bed and the other inside the floor which keeps the bed afloat. If this appeals to you, it’ll cost you $1.5-million (R21.5-million) to float to dreamland. But we do suggest taking off any metal jewellery before you climb in.

Clone Your Puppy

Dolly the sheep became so 1997 in 2007 when scientists from BioArts announced you could have your best friend cloned. If your best friend was a dog, that is. And if you had about $150 000 (R2.1-million) spare change lying around. Surprisingly, five people did; the cloned puppies were delivered to them two years later. The trend for cloning pets didn’t last long, however. In September 2009 BioArts Chief Executive, Lou Hawthorne, issued a press release announcing that the company will no longer clone animals. The controversial nature of pet cloning and the experimentation that goes along with it to get it right resulted in some negative media attention. Today, despite BioArts no longer offering the service, the pet cloning business is alive and well, with several companies worldwide prepared to clone your furbaby.

The Tesla Roadster

By 2008, the idea of an electric car wasn’t new, but an electric car that was actually good looking, well, that got people talking, including Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney and other A-list celebs. The electric car that got heads turning and tongues wagging was the Tesla Roadster and with a price tag of $100 000 (R1.4-million). The high-performance electric sports car was so impressive (with a top speed of 125mph) that Time magazine named it on of the best inventions of 2008. 

Château Margaux

This is not the type of wine you spit out after tasting it. In fact, the longer you keep it in your mouth before swallowing it, the better…in our books at least. In fact, we wouldn’t open it at all!  Wine merchant Le Clos in Terminal 3 of Dubai Airport announced that they would be selling three Balthazars of a 2009 Bordeaux from Château Margaux at a staggering $195 000 (R2.8-million) per bottle! The price included a first class flight to France for an exclusive tour of the vineyard followed by a dinner at the chateau.

Google’s Driverless Car

What might seem like old news now, was big news in 2010 when Google announced that it had fitted a Prius with radar sensors, video cameras and a laser range finder and that it had self-driven a staggering 193 000km without any serious incidents. Fast-forward to 2015 and these self-driving cars used for testing had grown to a fleet of 23 Lexus SUVs and by June that same year, the fleet had driven over 1.6-million kilometres. But as is the norm with most hi-tech innovations, there have been some teething problems, including minor accidents, the latest being in February this year where one car – in an attempt to avoid sandbags in its way – crashed into a bus. Other accidents that were reported were caused when the driverless car was either taken over and driven manually by an actual human or were due to other drivers in normal vehicles. So, as far as car accidents go, these statistics aren’t bad at all.

The estimated release date of 10-million self-drive cars is set for 2020, so if you can manage to put away approximately $320 000 (R4.6-million) by then you could buy one. Hopefully, by then the cars will be able to safely avoid doing tricks like crashing into a bus rather than a sandbag.  

The Pink Star

If diamonds are in fact a girl’s best friend, then this one would be your very best friend for life: the kind of friend you would never want to ever let out of your sight. Ever. The Steinmetz Pink Star was a ring made from an extremely rare 59.60-carat pink diamond. This beauty was mined by De Beers in South Africa back in 1999. In 2013, the ring sold for a massive £51.7-million (R1-billion). The buyer and the receiver of this ring remained anonymous, but we’re sure she said “I do”… about 50 million times over.

Sublimotion: The World’s Most Expensive Restaurant

Ibiza is best known for its party experience and luxury resorts, but a new restaurant opened up its doors and promised a gastronomic experience like you’ve never had before. Not only does this restaurant challenge your senses, with a cover charge of $2 015 (more than R29 000) per person, it definitely challenges your wallet too. Sublimotion is the brainchild of two-Michelin star Spanish chef Paco Roncero and it has been running since 2014. Described as a “gastro-sensory-venture” this 20-course dinner allows for only 12 guests per seating and every dish is served as a sensory treat in a different environment. The result is a combination of Roncero’s natural culinary talent combined with technology, science and the study of emotions. It’s like British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s Spanish version of the famous Fat Duck and the waiting list is long. We did a quick online reservation to see, and there was a one-week gap where we could book a spot… four months from now. After that, it seems to be fully booked long into 2017. So if you’re a foodie at heart, and you’ve got the money to spend (or save), this will be an experience to remember.

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