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INTERVIEW: Shamin Abas Dishes About 3rd Annual "The Bridge" Presented By Richard Mille - Which Will Feature 150 Rare Cars, An Art Fair, And More

Sydney A. Braat

The invite-only event pays tribute to the club's racing heritage and will exhibit magnificent and unexpected automobiles. (Photo: Michael Schaffer/Capitol Sunset Photography)

More than 150 rare cars will be featured at the 3rd annual The Bridge presented by Richard Mille on Saturday, September 15. This event unites cars and contemporary art on the grounds of The Bridge, the contemporary golf club built on the site of the historic Bridgehampton Race Circuit. The invite-only event pays tribute to the club's racing heritage and will exhibit magnificent and unexpected automobiles. Additionally, work from 12 of the world's most renowned contemporary galleries will be featured on this special day.

The Bridge is an event unlike any other especially in the Hamptons. It has quickly become one of the most highly anticipated events of the season for guests, luxury brands and automakers who use this day as an opportunity to do something special.

Events during the day include: Richard Mille's never-before-seen limited edition watch for the Americas, the exhibition of Pagani's hand-crafted hypercars including four limited-production Huayras and one Zonda, as well as the fourth MclAren in two decades to receive the "Longtail" designation. Additionally, Karma Automative will unveil a new special edition, hand-painted James Verbicky Art Car. Rolls Royce will display the new Cullinan, the first SUV to be launched by the marque. Bell's most affordable turbine aircraft, Bell 505 Jet Ranger X, will make an appearance. Get close and personal with NetJets, the worldwide leader in private aviation. They will once again have a full-size fuselage mock-up for guests to climb inside and experience. One of the preeminent players in the world of automated VTOL vehicles, Terrafugia, will help you jump into the future with their new Transition prototype, the world's first practical flying car. This year will also feature a new area dedicated to low-production boutique coachbuilders, including the ATS GT, one of only 12 models set to be produced and modeled after the 1964 ATS 2500 GT.

The September Art Fair at The Bridge is expanding this year and will feature 12 globally recognized contemporary galleries, doubling its size from the first year. The art fair is organized by Suzanne Butler (Canada), Max Levai and Pascal Spengemann (Marlborough Contemporary), and designed by artist Lars Fisk. The participating galleries this year include, 303 Gallery, Canada, Andrew Edlin Gallery, Reyes Projects, Karma, Johann König Gallery, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Marlborough Contemporary, Morán Morán, Vito Schnabel, Sies + Höke, and David Zwirner Gallery.

This event is a collaboration between Bob Rubin, who has owned the race circuit since 1981 and founded The Bridge golf club in 2002, and the event organizers: Shamin Abas, President of Shamin Abas Ultra-Luxury Brand Marketing & Business Development, and Jeffrey Einhorn, a Manhattan-based attorney. The trio foresaw true potential for collaboration and designed The Bridge as the antithesis of the atypical automotive event.

"We're very proud to build upon the success of our previous years and have cultivated an experience that will suit a multitude of tastes and interests," said Rubin. "Since buying this property, the land was calling for this. It's about shunning the roped-off kinds of concours, and celebrating the art, history and function of the automobile to reimagine what a concours could be. As The Bridge continues to grow its car and contemporary art elements, we are shifting perceptions."

We spoke with Shamin Abas, President of Shamin Abas and Co-Founder of The Bridge, to learn more about this incredibly unique event that has captivated car and art enthusiasts from around the globe:

Can you speak to the creation of The Bridge and how this event came about?

SA: Bob Rubin and I started plotting the idea of creating an annual event that paid homage to the incredible racing heritage of the club back in late fall 2014, but it wasn't until the fall of 2015, when we teamed up with Jeffrey Einhorn, that we started to move into the planning stages. The inaugural event took place on September 17th, 2016, and was presented to the members of the club and our guests and as 'a taste of what's to come.' We lacked in sponsorship that first year, (we had only two sponsors: Bell Helicopter and Karma Automotive, both of which are still with us) but we held in our long-term vision, and our belief that we could over time attract sponsorship partners and prolific car collectors and enthusiasts that would embrace our concept of being, in Bob's words, "Pebble Beach without the stick up the behind!" With artist Richard Prince kindly agreeing to allow us use of his work Skull Bunny as our motif, we knew we couldn't be mistaken for a traditional concours by any means!

We exhibited 62 cars in the first year, all by invitation, and curated from some of the most spectacular private collections on the East Coast. The response from the attendees was tremendous. We knew we were onto something special! And indeed in year two, 2017, we went on to double the size of the exhibition and the guest list, and successfully gained the support of some of the most highly-regarded brands in the world including Richard Mille, himself a collector of classic cars, who came in as our presenting partner, along with: NetJets, Burgess Yachts, McLaren, Pagani, Sherry-Lehmann, Nicholas Brawer and Uovo. Last year, Bob also aligned with art dealer extraordinaire Max Levai of Marlborough Contemporary and artist Lars Fisk who created a showcase of six of the leading contemporary art galleries which were housed in specially designed double-wide shipping containers. Talk about cars and art coming together in a very cool way!

Why is The Bridge such a highly anticipated and successful summer event in the Hamptons?

SA: In just three short years, the event has become quite the hot ticket. In fact, we are getting requests from collectors and enthusiasts from all over the US that want to attend. The event has been and will always be by invitation only so its exclusivity adds to the appeal, I'm sure! But for those that are in attendance each year, it's the anticipation of what we might have been able to secure for the exhibition that is one of a kind, or hasn't been seen since it won in Pebble Beach many years ago, or was shipped up from a very private collector in Florida and hasn't been seen in public in fifty years! The richness of the provenance of many of the cars is quite extraordinary.

The other part that makes the experience of being there special is that the car manufacturers that participate have executives from the factory on hand so that attendees can spend time engaging with the very people that design and build the modern cars that sit in their driveways. For example, last year McLaren's Design Director Rob Melville attended and spent the afternoon engaging with those that were fascinated to know more about plans for future cars, and this year Horacio Pagani and his family have confirmed their plans to attend.

How is this year's event different from the last?

SA: The event is rather expensive to put on, and so we are fortunate to have more partners this year, to add to those that have been with us years one and two to help pay for this labor of love! We are thrilled that Riva, Bonhams, Douglas Elliman, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Berluti, Terrafugia, and Fuji have joined our existing partner list. I will say that collectors of contemporary art will find the list of galleries participating in the coinciding art fair quite impressive to say the least. The exhibition will grow to 150 cars this year, and together with our display of modern supercars, we will be showcasing two low-production emerging manufacturers, Manifattura Automobili and ATS.

How do you hope the event grows in coming years?

SA: We hope to continue to grow the significance of the event for collectors as one of the most important dates on the their calendars each year at which they can indulge in their passion. Next year, we plan to add a rally into the line-up of events and we also plan to grow our Bridge Cars&Coffee which takes place the following day from 9 a.m. till 12 noon at The Bridgehampton Historical Society and is open the public.

For more information, visit www.bridgeorama.com.




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