The Romero Britto-designed taxi drives past Monte Carlo (image courtesy of Rosalind Milani Gallieni)

Words by Rosalind Milani Gallieni

At the best of times, dropping into the madness of the Principality of Monaco is like walking into the pages of luxury we usually see in books and magazines, and on Instagram and websites. Be it for the Formula One Grand Prix, the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, the Monaco Yacht Show, or even seeing the Christmas penguins float on the  piscine in December, it never bores….and not to mention the Tango Fire’s flames of desire coming in 2020!

The dock in Monaco (image courtesy of Rosalind Milani Gallieni)

September took us to the Monaco Yacht Show, which attracts over 125 superbly designed superyachts into the Principality. Yacht-builders, brokers and buyers alike gathered to showcase their extraordinary work, which had been building at great lengths during the year, and the newly designed dock showcased their innovative design, hi-tech accessories on-board, bespoke craftsmanship, inimitable services and of course, travel itineraries of a unique kind around the globe. The show also readied itself for the inauguration and unveiling of one of the world’s most prestigious mega-yachts to ever be built: a yacht with a purpose, the identity of which will be revealed at a forthcoming global launch.

The Romero Britto-designed taxi

The Westbury Mayfair, a Luxury Collection Hotel, London, was also on the scene, to run the second edition of the “Nataliya Cola Presents” art series. An arts commentator and benefactor, Nataliya presented globally-renowned pop artist Romero Britto’s premiere exhibition at an invitation-only cocktail reception held in the most sleek design-led suite at the Royal Yacht Club de Monaco: the Riva Lounge. Bar stools, sofas, tables, chrome lighting, small model Rivas and their signature details – everything was a recall to the beautiful launches and their timeless elegance.  

The Royal Yacht Club de Monaco (image courtesy of Rosalind Milani Gallieni)

Having been nominated one of Forbes Monaco’s 20 Entrepreneurs of 2020, Nataliya brings the works of both new and established artists to exciting new frontiers, reaching audiences who appreciate the many diverse genres of the arts world.  Of Romero’s works, she enjoys “the stylistic connection of his work to the hustle and flair of Mayfair, mixed in with the acute energy and opulence of Monte Carlo.”  For his part, Romero had no qualms about his first solo show being held in Monaco.  “[It] is such a beautiful, colourful and international melting pot,” he said of the Principality, “and as such, a place of great inspiration.”

Nataliya Cola and Romero Britto

It would seem that Nataliya was equally inspired, acquiring two of Romero’s works, one of which, titled “Atlantic,” is now on permanent display back in London at The Westbury Mayfair – the first American hotel in London, which is owned by the Cola family.  As one of the city’s finest hotels on Bond Street, The Westbury Mayfair has enjoyed a long and established pedigree as a five-star destination ever since the day it first opened in 1955. It has become a go-to for its international clientele, who have been coming back to the hotel sometimes for two or three family generations, enjoying the home they have grown to know over the years.

Andrew Henning, GM of The Westbury Mayfair, with Nataliya Cola and Romero Britto, unveiling “Atlantic”

Today, the “Atlantic” piece is hanging in its new Mayfair address, and tells a Romero-coloured tale in fractured perspective of its voyages in the Cote d’Azur.  The flurry of the Monaco event was suitably followed by a vernissage for the unveiling of the piece.  As part of the evening’s celebrations, Romero arrived at the hotel in a customised black cab owned by Richard Gough, featuring a special design of one of the artist’s previous “love-art” works, which was created to give his art a living open canvas for everyone to enjoy.  

Romero Britto by the custom-designed taxi (images courtesy of Rosalind Milani Gallieni and Richard Gough)

The very same taxi also took Romero and his team around the sights of Monte Carlo for the “Nataliya Cola Presents” event, with Richard having driven all the way from Mayfair to Monaco – a 900-mile journey that took some 15 hours one way. Richard then drove his taxi back, to celebrate the artist’s arrival in London – now that’s friendship and loyalty. We know an artist will always thrive on a surprise!