A LONDONER in COPENHAGEN: TAPET CAFE





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On his last day in København, A-Gent of Style hopped onto a train towards Gentofte, 20 minutes north of the Danish capital, to enter the enchanting world of
TAPET-CAFE.


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 TAPET-CAFE (tapet meaning wallpaper in Danish) is the internationally renown Danish firm specialising in the design and production of hand printed textiles, wallpaper, custom-made curtains and fine upholstery which also creates bespoke interior designs for boutiques, designer stores, restaurants, hotels and private homes. And last but not least, they are also purveyor to the Royal Danish Court – hence the royal stamp of approval on their logo.


Back home in the UK, TAPET-CAFE has established itself primarily as discerning creators of paper hangings, familiar to A-Gent of Style as they are represented by Helen Cormack at Tissus d’Hélène, the go-to boutique textiles showroom in London’s Design Centre. The award-winning TAPET-CAFE make regular appearances in leading design magazines and has exhibited at Decorex in the last two years with arresting vignettes.


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Founded in 1974 and still based in Gentofte, Copenhagen, in what used to be an old dairy and family house, the company is now owned by Jannik Martensen-Larsen – whose family business has been running through generations – and his wife Helene Blanche, both of whom A-Gent of Style has had the privilege to meet in London on a couple of occasions in the last few years, and these days, on a daily basis via Instagram – where else!


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Having successfully designed over the years various collections of wallpapers for other companies, Jannnik and Helene, Head of Design at TAPET-CAFE and a textile graduate from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, decided to launch a few years ago their own wallpaper and fabric collection, The Private Collection, under their own name. All drawn and painted by hand, Helene’s striking creations are suffused with a traditional Danish legacy and Nordic influences mixed with a contemporary feel that ranges from botanicals and romantic, poetic motifs (favourite: The Tea House), to bolder graphics and Art Deco (favourite: Deco Fan), all telling different stories.

“My ambition and dream has been to create a design house of patterns and colours – a world of interiors, focusing on bespoke wallpaper and textile designs”, says Jannik. “It is a privilege to develop and expand our family business and we value to work with craftsmen, designers and clients through generations”.



A-Gent of Style didn’t expect less from his visit and the TAPET-CAFE boutique showroom, situated a stone’s throw from the train station; whilst the charming and almost centenary-old building has been repainted in striking burnt orange, the interior is handsomely enveloped by a plethora of harmonious colours and patterns, combining a mix of the company’s own products as well as carefully selected design brands represented in Denmark by TAPET-CAFE such as De Gournay, Jennifer Shorto, Chelsea Textiles furniture and Farrow & Ball.

“I constantly experiment with hand drawing using a mix of charcoal, ink and watercolour, to create the first sketches of pattern. I believe it’s important to maintain an open and playful work progress, so that the finished design is dynamic and vivacious. its not about prettiness and perception, but also about playing and experimenting with colours and scale” – Helene Blanche


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The delightful and ever-charming couple were not only generous with their time showing me around the shop – used until not so long ago as living quarters and now solely used as showroom and offices – but also around the floors upstairs where each room had just been redecorated to show off different, stunning mise-en-scènes and vignettes, with a (current) common denominator: shades of green, blue and teal – an ineluctable bonding element between Helene and A-Gent of Style. Helene also kindly let me in a few secrets and showed me her new, unfinished designs, that already promise to be appealing. Stay tuned!



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– Photos by TAPET-CAFE and A-Gent of Style – 





A LONDONER IN COPENHAGEN : STUDIO OLIVER GUSTAV





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Whilst the sunny, gently windswept weather A-Gent of Style was graced with during his stay in Copenhagen in the last week couldn’t have been more fortuitous, most of his peregrinations took place in the moody, atmospheric, dare I say it, romantic light of dusk that struck punctually every day after 3.48pm – that’s Scandinavia for you in the winter months.

Judging from his own experiences (all documented on Instagram, ad nauseam), København certainly lived up to its reputation as the most liveable city of the year (as voted in 2014 by Monocle magazine for the second consecutive year), and A-Gent of Style will hasten to add, an enchanting and vibrant one at that. The Nordic style in design is still all the rage and the world is currently looking north for inspiration which will explain why Copenhagen has long been on the global style radar.

As serendipity would have it, he stumbled across a great find one day in what soon became his favourite street in the hip quarter of Nyhavn where he was staying.


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Moody and atmospheric too but also ethereal, nude and minimal is that special space that is the brainchild of creative consultant and interior designer Oliver Gustav.


From his eponymous studio, showroom and boutique, debonair Oliver Gustav offers unique and limited edition pieces, objets, natural curiosities and some beautiful (Belgian) linens from a carefully curated edit of international designers and artists, not too dissimilar to Willer in London, Galerie Salon in Paris (both featured by A-Gent of Style) John Derian in New York, and Gray Gallery in L.A. Set on a monochrome backdrop, mixed with strong and modern cultural influences, Gustav’s peaceful and spellbinding interiors make striking use of light and shadow – like a modern interpretation on chiaroscuro à la Caravaggio – underscoring his attention to surfaces and scale. With this serene ambience, his spaces offer a truly seldom experience rooted in a timeless and beautifully honest simplicity.

This creative sanctuary set in a dramatic atmosphere where the stark and modern are contrasted against rare antique finds and exquisite collectables, such as the special edition Arne Jacobsen Drop Chair and the now much featured Cloud lighting fixture by Apparatus (also storied here), is a great source of inspiration and a must-see for any design enthusiasts in Copenhagen.



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– Photos by A-Gent of Style except photo of Oliver Gustav – 



 

THE TWINKLE of CHRISTMAS at the DESIGN CENTRE, CHELSEA HARBOUR





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 You’d have to be a Scrooge not to like a Twinkle.

It is the season to be merry, so a fortnight ago, in between work commitments and a design bloggers-only event hosted by Linley later on that evening,
A-Gent of Style made his way to his ‘home from home’, the much cherished Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour for its annual Twinkle of Christmas, now in its fifth year, to celebrate the festive season in a jolly, glamourous and convivial atmosphere

Attended by a plethora of designers, taste makers, and representatives from the design centre’s 102 showrooms, Claire German, Managing Director of the DCCH, and her team invited their guests to the capital’s legendary creative and commercial hub of interior design to enjoy festive fizz, hot chocolate, doughnuts, star treats and marshmallows from a snow wall amongst ethereal stilt-walkers whilst smooth harmonies from the Rat Pack provided seasonal good cheer beneath a constellation of twinkling lights.


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Despite its magical scintillation and sparkle, the glamorous event wouldn’t have been truly starry without the much-anticipated attendance of its surprise celebrity. This year’s guest of honour (and best well-kept secret) was Darcey Bussell, principal dancer, judge of BCC’s Strictly Come Dancing and now national darling, who, ahem, swanned in the middle dome to be welcomed onto the stage by students from her old school, Royal Ballet School. With the support of a huge crowd, La Bussell switched on the lights and the spectacular glass domes the design centre were illuminated by a galaxy of glowing stars, a sight to behold.

‘It’s such an inspirational place to come to,’ said Darcey. ‘I have always been a big fan of the creative world, and I’m very happy to add to this festive occasion’.

With all of these perfect ingredients thrown into the mix, The Twinkle of Christmas has now become without a doubt an unmissable annual tradition and a firm fixture in London’s design calendar.

  Twinkle, twinkle…


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– Photos by the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour and A-Gent of Style




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