DESIGN GRAND SLAM: NICKY HASLAM AND HIS NEW LONDON SANCTUM



 

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Six months have gone now since A-Gent of Style met Nicky Haslam at an evening party (the only one A-Gent was attending that night, Nicky’s second by 9pm…) organised by House of Hackney, the maximalist hipster design visionaries, in their fantastic Shoreditch showroom (designed by the brilliant MRA who specialises in high-end retail interiors) where the flamboyant decorateur extraordinaire and inveterate socialite was invited with Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki to chat about their lives and careers. Ensconced in one of the brand’s sofas – upholstered in Palmeral, one of their iconic 1970s fabulously kitsch prints, the two raconteurs and storytellers entertained us with their delightful stories and anecdotes in a very informal and relaxed way as if they had invited us in their sitting room to have a banter and a cuppa  (except that we were sipping champagne).

It is then and there at the drinks reception that Nicky Haslam told A-Gent of Style that he had just finished redecorating his new London flat and that he had just moved in, which, as you would imagine, piqued his interest greatly.


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It was only last weekend that Haslam’s apartment was finally revealed to the world in an exclusive feature of the New York Times T Magazine,one of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite design publications in recent months, for their Spring Design issue
(Joseph Dirand’s Paris apartment and the houses of decorator expats in Tangier are a treat). And as expected, it did not disappoint. Bland, featureless and unrefined are not epithets often used to qualify Monsieur Haslam’s interiors. Actually they never are. Elegant, sophisticated, relaxed, also audacious, unique and certainly kitsch, maximalist, dramatic and theatrical are superlatives that best describe and are commonly used for this great decorative aesthete whose incredible career spans more than five decades and whose slew of clients would make the red carpet at the Oscars look like a symposium of cinephile First Year students at Bognor Regis University.


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You can view the full article here but in the meanwhile, A-Gent of Style will say that he is really taken by the overall glamourous look of Haslam’s apartment, its whimsicality, theatricality, floridity and eclecticism (bespoke items rub shoulders with antiques and Oka pieces – Haslam has a furniture range with the English design firm) particularly the Christian Bérard-esque irregular lines of the painted wall panels, the faux-marble fireplace surrounds, the oversized white plaster ceiling light (Giacometti-inspired possibly but most probably created by Philippe Anthonioz or Stephen Antonson. Do get in touch if you have the answer!), the built-in fretwork hutch, the faux-bamboo green walls (framed with a lovely coral braid), the doors painted in different colour on either side (green and blue gets A-Gent every time! Check it out here), the painted floor à la Jean Cocteau in the entrance hall, the camp rococo baldaquin bed à la Dorothy Draper, partly fabric partly plaster (did you spot the duvet was tied to the bed footboard? Brilliant), the dark green, low Chinoiserie ceiling light and of course the diverse objets, especially the plaster reliefsthat look as if they had been taken out of the Soane museum.

But more importantly, the lack of Haslam’s concern for following decorative rules
(if there is such a thing), his rejection of conventions or of what people might think, his irreverence, audacity but also rarefied style echoing many decorative but also artistic and cultural references (is that frame above the fireplace really inspired by a Cocteau rather than a Dali!?) are a true breath of fresh air to A-Gent of Style in this saturated world of taupey, soulless and unimaginative interiors, and of course a great source of inspiration that made him think aloud “that’s what interior decoration is all about”. Let’s hope you will concur!



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– Photographs by Simon Upton for T Magazine of the New York Times –





One comment


  • Simply divine, would love to live that dream! Happy Easter x

    April 17, 2014

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