Uniques: A One of a Kind Concours
By Charis Whitcombe
Unique is a word often misused. How often do we hear a car described, irritatingly, as 'very unique' or 'quite unique', meaning it's merely unusual? Either something is unique - or it's not. And if it is, then it's the only one of its kind in existence. It is so rare as to be number one in a limited series of... one.
This is what Uniques, a new event in Florence, aims to celebrate. To be held at Florence's stunning Four Seasons Hotel from 24th-27th September 2010, the core of the exhibition is 'The Unique Cars International Concours'. The organisers clearly know a thing or two, as they're behind the modern-day Mille Miglia, as well as the more intimate but equally admired Coppa Milano-Sanremo. And one of the many things they seem to know is the real meaning of unique.
The Concours intends to showcase cars that are - quite genuinely - one of a kind. This might be because just one was made; or because there is only one left. It could be that the car is unique because it was specially commissioned, perhaps a concept, prototype or show car, or owned by an iconic figure in history.
It's an ambitious project, and Kidston SA is delighted to offer support as consultant to the selection committee who will choose rare automotive gems for the occasion (so do please get in touch with us if you know of a likely contender, and we'll recommend it to the organisers). Of course, these gems won't be limited to the one-offs which have sprung straight from the manufacturers - the Aston Martins and Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces of this world. The Concours will also celebrate the offspring of the world's greatest designers and coachbuilders, those who have graced chassis with unique creations of their own: names such as Italdesign-Giugiaro and Pininfarina, Zagato, Castagna and Touring Superleggera.
Nor is Uniques limited to cars. There will be one-off luxury artefacts, ranging from watches, jewellery and fashion accessories to design pieces and very special items of clothing - many of them owned by famous individuals, or connected to films, or seminal moments in history. Plenty, then, to amuse those who seek the unusual. The venue, too, is rather special, as Uniques will take place in the grounds of the Giardino, the Conventino and the Palazzo della Gherardesca of the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence - recently restored at a reputed cost of €250 million and taken over entirely for the event.
The programme begins on Friday 24th September with a welcome cocktail on the terrace, followed by two days of 'Unique Cars' on display in the park.
Saturday evening will see a gala dinner at the Corridoio Vasariano, Florence's famous (and - of course - unique...), 16th Century, elevated, enclosed walkway over the Ponte Vecchio; plus an open-air concert at the Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens). Meanwhile, the organisers are planning a gala dinner for the Sunday at a different but no less exclusive venue: the Palazzo Vecchio's Sala dei Cinquecento.
And, if you find yourself at Uniques, don't forget the other delights which Florence has to offer. It's worth taking time to visit one of the many chapels, art galleries or museums - or perhaps just to browse in the Renaissance city's charming boutiques.