Renowned glass artist sets up workshop in Ras Al Khaimah as company embarks on the development of an art hub
UAE: A group of international investors, headed by Amédée Santalo, is seeking to make Ras Al Khaimah central to a global network of artistic endeavour.
Santalo is CEO of Novaro International FZ LLC, a company based in the RAKIA free zone and built on the talents of master glass blower, Jean Claude Novaro. The firm has taken the rights to the Novaro brand and will be using its Ras Al Khaimah base to produce a wide range of original glass art work for the regional market.
Part of the company’s development plan is to twin Ras Al Khaimah with the city of Biot, in France, and Tacoma, in the US.
“For more than a year we have been working to create the triangle of glass between Europe, the US and the Middle East,” said Santalo.
“The Mayor of the city of Biot, where Jean Claude Novaro lives in the south of France, is passionate about art and especially about glass. Everyday, he sees the benefits Biot’s glass factory has for tourism and for the image of the city. Biot is a small village of 10,000 people, which has more than 700,000 visitors each year, attracted by the glass blowers.”
The twin project is intended to create a lot of events to move artists, products and visitors between the three cities. Santalo believes one of the immediate effects will be an important increase of tourism.
“Ras Al Khaimah is definitely a tourist destination, and art has always been one of the most important factors for the development of tourism,” he said. “Ras Al Khaimah has the landscape and the atmosphere to welcome artists, museums and events. Art also attracts valuable travelers, which will be of benefit to the city in terms of revenue.”
The company’s proposals include the creation of an art and craft village, which will be designed in a traditional manner.
“Stone and wood, trees and flowers will be everywhere,” said Santalo. “We want to recreate the same ambiance of Biot and Saint Paul de Vence, which inspire artists from all over the world.
“We will provide a one-stop-shop where you will be able to purchase the best art from all over the world. Art workshops will be permanently based in the village.”
Novaro International is establishing a local distribution network, starting with Royal Treasures, a Dubai gallery specializing in glassware. The decision to work with Royal Treasures reflects the importance of the Dubai market, said Santalo.
“The gallery is beautiful and the products they are dealing with, such as Baccarat and Ostler, are all prestigious. For us, it represents exactly what we expected from a partner in the glass business.”
Dubai is not the only centre to witness Novaro International’s expansion plans.
“We have events throughout the Middle East, central Asia and Africa over the next four months, which will end with permanent representatives,” said Santalo.