KLC SCHOOL of DESIGN INTERVIEWS A-GENT of STYLE



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KLC, the prestigious London school of design, has now launched its own blog online and interviewed A-Gent of Style, an alumnus, a few weeks go to talk about his path and experiences since graduating from the school in 2009.


Interview with A-Gent of Style

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Image above courtesy of Veere Grenney Associates, with whom Fabrice worked.



A-Gent of Style – better known to his friends as Fabrice Bana – is a London-based French interior designer, KLC Alumnus and all-round sultan of chic. He was back in school recently to speak with our Certificate students on their final day of the course and I was lucky enough to have a quick natter with him about life before and after studying with KLC.




Fabrice at an event with Lalique (February 2015)


So Fabrice, tell me what you were doing before you retrained with KLC?

My background is in linguistics. My first degree is in English and after moving from France to London in 1997, I did the PGCE (teacher training) in Modern Foreign Languages at Goldsmiths College and graduated as a secondary school teacher in 1999. I taught 11-18 years old in London comprehensive schools for 9 years, as well as being a private tutor, examiner and moderator for GCSEs and A-Levels, and also qualifying as an English-French translator.


Was there a ‘catalyst moment’ when you realised you wanted to change career to interior design?

In 2007, an acquaintance of mine, who was also a teacher, decided to go part-time to retrain at KLC, with a view to becoming an interior designer. At first I was pretty surprised and intrigued by this radical move, but it also sowed a seed in my mind. Since I had been living and teaching in London for almost 10 years and I was turning 30, I contemplated the idea of changing careers, as it felt as though I was at a pivotal point in my life. I was ready for the next challenge. I also knew I had a creative streak and that I wanted to tap into a new, unknown potential, away from my comfort zone in academia and teaching.

To this day, enrolling at KLC and pursuing my newly found passion for interior design despite the odds and challenges was one of the best decisions if my life. I hate getting stuck in a rut. Change is good.


Are you currently working on any projects?

Lately, there have been some exciting offers that I am currently considering and also there will be some new collaborations coming up this year for my blog A-Gent of Style – in particular, one with Lalique, the fine crystal jewellery and works of artI’m also an interior design business developer, introducer and ‘tastemaker’, as well as working at Redloh House Fabrics. There is possibly a decorating project for a new-built apartment looking onto The Thames.


Do you feel there are any elements of your previous career which helped you after your career change?

Discipline, integrity, perseverance, high standards, punctuality. A lot of diplomacy. And a sense of humour!



An online feature on Fabrice by Christies, after he was asked to curate two interiors sales (Summer 2014)


When and why did you decide to set up your blog A-Gent of Style?

In the last couple of years, I have been very much aware of and attuned with the growing importance, value and authority that some successful and inspiring blogs have these days – both as a new medium of communication and as an instant platform of exposure. I was very much inspired by a couple of American interior design bloggers who really ‘talked’ to me and who both have a strong, unique and interesting voice and stance within their writing; Mark D Sikes and The Peak of Chic by Jennifer Boles, who have both been very supportive and encouraging

Two years ago, a dear friend of mine suggested I created my own blog, and after some consideration, she helped me with the technical side of it whilst I worked on the aesthetics and content. Her encouragement (and patience!) has been invaluable and I am very much grateful to her. She was the catalyst for this eureka moment. With my inquisitive eye and finger on the pulse, I wanted to document my musings, express my interests, creativity and individualism, put the spotlight on what assaults my senses and lifts my spirits but also to chronicle my weekly adventures and occurrences as a ’social commentator’ in the design world.

With hindsight, I never thought A-Gent of Style would have, to a certain extent, become established and recognised. Some of the features and collaborations I have had with some of the people I highly value and respect in the industry have been terrific.


Give me an example of how you decide what to include in your blog?

It really varies. There is no rhyme or reason as to what makes it to the blog but unconditionally, it is something that I feel strongly about. Be it the content, impact, aesthetics or relevance – I wouldn’t publish a feature that I don’t believe in, or simply for the sake of a PR stunt. I also chose topics that my readership will hopefully like and appreciate!

Very often, I thrive on the fact that as a blogger, you are not controlled by the limitations of a printing deadline for instance, or having to file off three months in advance. You can feature anything almost immediately or a few days later – I can be a ‘man about town’, a blogger-at-large if you will! There is a certain thrill about being one of the few chosen ones, sometimes the only one, to report on a subject or be invited at a launch, event or preview and go home – or at times to one of my favourite bars, restaurants or hotels (as long as they have Wi-Fi!), write the article and be able to publish it before anyone else the following day.

You were recently chosen by Decorex to be a ‘trend spotter’ – what did this involve? Did you enjoy it?

I felt very honoured when Simone du Bois, the brand director, suggested to include a blog post from me on my thoughts and experiences of the show, as they had a special edition of their View newsletter going out which was focussing on the activity onsite at Decorex 2014.



Fabrice at Decorex, October 2014

The experience was a lot of fun, especially going around the stands and vignettes with my ‘eagle eye’ and thinking cap on. There were a lot of contenders to choose from and as I had total carte blanche as to what I wanted to include; only the most striking trends or most inspiring newbies made it to the final cut!  Even if I am more of a ‘trends fade, style lasts forever’ kind of person, going around the show looking out for the new crazes and tendencies was not just thrilling but also surprising at times, as well as being an eye-opener. When I mention during my lectures the new trends for the forthcoming year to the students at KLC, they categorically respond in a very positive, enthusiastic way. Trends inspire!

You can read more from A-Gent of Style on his website.

(Keep an eye out from more of him on the KLC Blog later on this year as well!)



BENCHMARK for DESIGN: CHATSWORTH and the ‘MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE’ EXHIBITION





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In with the old. The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire are hosting until October, 23 at their stately home Chatsworth House in Derbyshire a new exhibition based on chairs. Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth will display some chairs from their private collection alongside modern ones, some of which have been newly commissioned specially for the event. Some of these creations are by established designers such as Thomas Heatherwick, Piet Hein Eek and Marc Newson, others by emerging talents including a collaboration with students at Sheffield Hallam University.


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This fun exhibition is not meant to be a historical overview of chair design and, uncharacteristically to the setting, the chairs are meant to be sat on thus providing a totally different experience with a view to encouraging visitors to reinterpret the historic house in new and surprising ways.

Until he makes the trip to Chatsworth House, A-Gent of Style had to rely not only on official photographs but also on social media (where else these days!) to find photos circulating to be able to make this feature. A big thank you therefore to my fellow instagramers for some of the great shots below.

So sit back and relax…

 

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IMG_3238.PNGvia maxfraserdesign instagram


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IMG_3251.PNGvia thechishopper instagram 


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IMG_3259.PNGvia maxfraserdesign instagram


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via hclightfoot instragram


IMG_3246.PNGvia psaltdesign instragram



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IMG_3249.PNGvia thechicshopper instagram


IMG_3250.PNGvia thechicshopper instagram



IMG_3244.PNGvia jenny.k.smith instagram


IMG_3239.PNGvia maxfraserdesign instagram



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IMG_3258.PNGvia ccarponen instagram


IMG_3252.PNGvia chaosfashionlondondotcom instagram


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Participating designers/brands

  • Amanda Levete – Drift bench
  • Assa Ashuach – 501 chairs
  • Catherine Aitken – Fade stool
  • Christina Liljenberg Halstrøm for Skagerak – Georg bench and stool
  • Daniel Schofield – Veil chair
  • Deborah Bowness – Souvenir wallpapers (Chatsworth)
  • Deger Cengiz – Chaise Lawn
  • Freyja Sewell – Hush
  • George Wood – Leftovers
  • Joseph Walsh – Enignum I and Enignum II chairs
  • Jung Myung Taek – Seating for Communicating: Over the Rainbow
  • Liliana Ovalle – Fragment of a Staircase
  • Maarten Baas – Clay chairs
  • Marc Newson – Lockheed Lounge
  • Moritz Waldemeyer – By Royal Appointment
  • Nest Design – Fin de Voyage, Swansong chairs and The Siren chairs
  • ·nobody & co – Bibliochaise and Bibliopouf
  • Piet Hein Eek – Kröller Müller chairs
  • Psalt Design (Richard Bell and David Powell) – Chatsworth chair
  • Raw Edges – Endgrain
  • Sebastian Brajkovic – Lathe V
  • Shang Xia – Da Tian Di chair
  • Sheffield Hallam University MDes students – Victoria dining chair by Robert Hamilton, Cavendish chair by Hayley Lightfoot, Hart chair by George Heath
  • Tamasine Osher – Play & Eat saddle seat
  • Thomas Heatherwick – Spun chairs
  • Thomas Mills for ifsodoso – Long-Form-Library
  • Thomas & Vines – Louis clear chairs
  • Tokujin Yoshioka – Water Block
  • Tom Price – Counterpart
  • YOY for Innermost – Canvas sofa and chair




    – photos from Chatsworth House and The London Design Festival websites – 




BOOK END No18





“Nothing is so beautiful as spring. The glassy pear tree leaves and blooms, they brush / the descending blue; that blue is all in a rush / with richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.”

– Gerard Manley Hopkins –


Spring is palpably in the air so here is a fresh selection by A-Gent of Style of noteworthy publications.

Don’t forget you can hover your cursor over each image to see the rest of the book cover or click on the image to see the cover in full in a new window.




And if you’ve missed the previous instalments of Book End, you can catch up and see the other fantastic books A-Gent of Style selected over the months:Book End No1Book End No2, Book End N03Book End N04Book End No5Book End No6, Book End No7, Book End N08, Book End No9Book End No10Book End N011Book End N012, Book End N013Book End No14Book End N015Book End No16, Book End N017

Happy reading!





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