The competition is rife throughout the year amongst the leading department stores to dazzle, surprise and entice us, material consumerists, with their extraordinary and lavish displays. And over the festive period, the pressure is considerably heightened and the stakes even higher.
As by magic, the windows at the quintessentially British store have been transformed into enchanting scenes of London covered in frost and snow, replete with their own gifts and decorations. The theme this year takes its inspiration from the famous River Thames Frost Fairs which hosted markets and carnivals on the frozen water between the 17th and 19th century during the freezing cold winters of Britain’s Little Ice Age.
Firmly established on the international art and design calendar and as one of
A-Gent of Style‘s unmissable and most cherished rendez-vous on the London design scene, the boutique-sized Pavilion of Art and Design (now commonly known as PAD) is returning to London for the 8th time this week inside its now iconic black marquee set amongst the trees of Berkeley Square. For A-Gent of Style, the build-up and anticipation to discover what is in store but also to catch up with some of his favourites antique dealers have reached fever pitch. In less than 24 hours, all will be revealed at the collectors’ preview.
15- 19 October 2014
Berkeley Square, W1
Wednesday 15 – Saturday 18 October 11am – 8pm
Sunday 19 October 11am – 6pm
For the first time this year HSBC is the official partner of PAD London. This follows the bank’s sponsorship of PAD Paris for the 9th consecutive year.
Representing 10 countries from around the world, a roster of 62 galleries – 28 of which design specialists, 45 returning galeristes and 17 newcomers – will showcase coveted, collectible objets with categories ranging from historical and contemporary design, modern art, jewellery to photography, decorative and tribal arts.
For A-Gent of Style, one of the most appealing attributes about PAD is its non-negotiable attitude to refuse to expand, as opposed to some of its overwhelming counterparts, and the discerning integrity of its CEO and committee to favour quality over quantity and exert their curatorial expertise in expertly vetting participants. And judging from the list of participants, this year will not disappoint. The crème de la crème of dealers and galeristes will exhibit some of their most prestigious and exclusive pieces in innovative and stunning displays, or vignettes. Rather than looking like sterile showroom stands, some of these decorative panoramas are like miss-en-scènes with astonishing combinations of wares interacting and living harmoniously next to each other. Eclecticism, authenticity and connoisseurship are key at the boutique fair where collectors, interiors specialists, design practitioners, art consultants, museum experts and the public gather to share their passion for the decorative arts.
This year’s most anticipated arrival is Sèvres, Cité de la Céramique, of the venerable porcelains and ceramics firm and museum, which will exhibit its collaborations with various artists in the last 100 years such as Ettore Sottsass and Aldo Bakker.
And last but not least, David Collins Studio has been chosen this year to design the temporary bar and restaurant as a tribute to the late David Collins, and has created an environment which sits in harmony with the temporary structure, the location and incredible array of exhibitors, which will offer visitors a space to rest, drink and dine. Knowing the Studio’s remarkable reputation, the result will be nothing short of a feast for the eyes and huge success.
Utilising iconic materials from their archive of world class bars and restaurants, the Studio has re-created and re-interpreted these materials in new and unusual ways for the installation, creating something new, unique and fun.
Poignantly, the entrance of the space features the tributary ‘Collins’ chandelier designed by David Collins and produced by Lobmeyr. Walls and flooring are executed in The Studio’s signature navy blue. A mass of all encompassing voluminous ceiling pendants are reminiscent of the 1950s. Printed textures and signature natural materials inspired by antique marble have been rescaled in the form of ink jet table cloths, printed rugs and cushions. Classic bentwood furniture has been re-imagined in blue. David Collins Studio have worked in collaboration with Ruinart to create a textile and gold leaf back bar. Interior landscaping of varied planting has been designed to marry the exterior park with the marquee interior.
Had A.A Gill reviewed two weeks ago the restaurant featured today on the blog,
A-Gent of Style would probably have given it a wild berth. In his now iconic weekly column in the Sunday Times, the sardonic food critic panned Q Grill last weekend and gave it a mere star for the quality of its food. Ouch. Thankfully, the angle A-Gent of Style, albeit a self-confessed foodie, approaches is from an aesthetic point of view, not a culinary one.
After a therapeutic shopping spree Saturday before last that ended up in Selfridge’s and in need of “a little bit of wet with a little bit of dry” (that’s tea and cake for you), A-Gent of Style was whisked up to the fifth floor in the specially-dedicated express lift reached from a discreet entrance opposite Selfridges’ perfume counter to review the new pop-up restaurant that opened last month until September 27 on top of the department store.
After last year’s successful Tea & Gold Party theme, Q Grill, originally based in Camden and owned by restaurateur Des Mc Donald, is offering throughout the summer an al fresco concept amongst the department store’s own secret rooftop garden and the skyline of London (not the most thrilling views of the capital, it has to be concurred with Adrian Anthony, but still a view) for a unique outdoor dining and drinking experience of BBQ-ing, grilling, summer dishes as well as a pop-up juice bar, that is open for late breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner seven days a week.
Designed by Alexander Waterworth Interiors, the main inspiration for the venue is taken from grand Victorian greenhouses and combined with a more contemporary setting to enjoy the BBQ season and the sunshine in the heart of central London. Should any sudden downpour spoil the fun, a metallic retractable roof will unfold to protect the diners. Wooden tables and 1970s-feel relaxed seating (single chairs, stools and a custom deep-buttoned banquette upholstered in various leather courtesy of Style Matters, bespoke furniture experts) are tucked away amongst lush herbaceous borders, dense foliage of ivy on the walls, scented plant pots and AstroTurf to create a fun and laidback atmosphere. Pass the parapet adorned with flags, there is, at the back of the roof terrace, via a garden path, a bespoke bar made with wooden boards, fronted by Mathieu Matégot-esque metal stools with leather seats, not somehow too dissimilar to the beachy clapboard style of the Hamptons and the ubiquitous, minimalist and rustic-concrete look of the Polpo-Popletto eateries.
If it is an open-air, relaxed spot amongst a stylish decor you are after, away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, Q Grill is a good recommendation for the summer. Just don’t blame A-Gent of Style if you don’t like the food. You should have read A.A Gill’s review first.
– Imagery by Selfridge’s and A-Gent of Style –