Starchitect and interior designer India Mahdavi has conceived a striking, soothing, monochromatic interior at Sketch, the multi-disciplinary hip restaurant-cum-art gallery and one of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite London haunts (handy!). The classic, simple and almost bourgeois design in Sketch’s main dining room The Gallery is sugar-coated in a pastel Ladurée-esque pink which invites a deliberately playful contrast with the witty, outré art works created as a backdrop by David Shrigley’s artwork. “I was talking to Andre Balazs about it and he described it as very Beverly Hills, a bit of Beverly Hills in Mayfair. But I think of it as a feminine brasserie, a contemporary take on the brasserie.”, says Mahdavi. 

India Mahadavi at the opening night

India Mahadavi at the opening night

Her work updates an archetypal brasserie design with its splashes of contemporaneity and this harmonious disorder breaks with the usual eclecticism . The 1970s feel of the design, slightly reminiscent of Kelly Wearstler’s work, incorporates custom-made Bidendum-like bulbous chairs and curvaceous matching banquettes upholstered in cotton velvet, with a chic injection of copper dotted around and appearing on the furniture bases and also the lamps, bar stools and joinery edges. The whole space is grounded by glorious chevron-patterned  and multi-coloured tiles on the floor (trés Missoni) and the majestic glass dome above. The polyglot and polychromatic Mahdavi was delighted to accept Mourad Mazouz’s invitation to create a new setting for David Shrigley’s installation. She says, ‘The location and space are the starting point of any of my projects and each project is like an open question, for which there is a unique answer. Each project tells that inner story.”



Celebrated British artist and last year’s Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley has helped transformed the Gallery as part of a long-term programme of artist-conceived restaurants that changes every other year at Sketch. Open for afternoon tea and dinner the project follows the huge success of artist Martin Creed’s restaurant commission at Sketch in 2012. 239 new works line the restaurant’s walls, forming the largest group of original drawings David Shrigley has ever exhibited. The exhibition continues on the restaurant tables; Shrigley has understood the dining table as an auxiliary exhibition space, a platform for the presentation of new work by himself and Master Chef, Pierre Gagnaire. The work comprises groovy new ceramic tableware, all exclusive to sketch and available to purchase online through the sketch website, featuring Shrigley’s distinctive mordant drawings and texts, in a holistic interaction with Gagnaire’s food. The meal itself becomes a site-specific sculptural work that references sketch’s location in the heart of London and invites diners to respond with their own thoughts and reactions.

 In addition, fashion designer Richard Nicoll has been enlisted to create bespoke uniforms for the Gallery restaurant staff to wear. For the girls, the design is a play on Nicoll’s signature T-shirt dress silhouette; for the boys, a smart, grey boiler-suit. “For the sketch uniform project I liked the idea of creating elegant and utilitarian uniforms for the staff that reference a diner look but in a very modern and sophisticated way”, explains Richard Nicoll.

So don’t be surprised if you spot A-Gent of Style with matching attire in this Pink Panther capsule soon.



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Richard Nicoll and Ben Jarvis

Richard Nicoll and Ben Jarvis








– Photos by Sketch – 



The 42nd edition of the Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair is now officially open and is taking place in London’s iconic Olympia Exhibition Centre until 15 June. A-Gent of Style attended the Preview Press Day yesterday and this year’s instalment can boast exceptional exhibits and design-focussed talks that will make this year’s fair an unmissable event for interior designers, decorating enthusiasts and collectors.


Founded in 1972, the event is the capital’s largest and most established art and antiques fair, featuring 180 specialist exhibitors from across the world. Presenting an extensive and eclectic range of high-quality, carefully vetted art, antiques, furniture and collectibles, the fair occupies an important place in the international cultural calendar providing a unique cultural, social and shopping experience for over 30,000 discerning international visitors.

Anthony Outred

Anthony Outred

With exhibits drawn from antiquity to the present day, and with prices ranging from £100 to £1 million, the fair is renowned as an unmissable event for seasoned collectors and connoisseurs as well as first-time buyers, dealers and interior decorators. Set in Olympia’s stunning Grand Hall, and featuring a glamorous Preview Day, late night openings and a VIP charity night in aid of CLIC Sargent, the fair is firmly established as one of the most prestigious fixtures in London’s summer season. Whether you’re enhancing an existing collection, sourcing a first investment piece, transforming your home or simply looking for decorative inspiration, Olympia’s eclectic and extensive offering caters for all. With prices ranging from £100 – £1 million, and with pieces dating from antiquity to the present day, Olympia is an unmissable occasion for collectors, specialists, designers and first-time buyers across the globe.

Sue Norman

Sue Norman

Glamorous events, inspirational talks, exquisite dining opportunities and an iconic location combine to make Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair the event of the summer season. As mentioned in the introduction, there are a few noteworthy interior design-related events that A-Gent of Style looks forward to attending.

The most exciting of all being ‘The Prince of Chintz: Spotlight on American Design’ with the legendary Mario Buatta, American Interior Designer and author of
‘Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration’ who will be flying from America especially for the talk. Don’t miss it. A-Gent of Style will of course be attending. Wednesday 11 June 12.30pm – 1.30pm.


Other talks will include:

  • The Life of the House, How Rooms Evolve with Lady Henrietta Spencer Churchill, Interior Designer, in association with BIID
  • Lynn Chadwick and Yorkshire Sculpture Park Celebrating the centenary of the sculptor’s birth
  • Tribal Rugs: Treasures of the Black Nomads
  • William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, an exhibition at the V&A

You can view the full list of events here.


Worth a mention is also the special exhibition this year celebrating British art nouveau and arts & crafts designer, Archibald Knox, in association with the Archibald Knox Society to mark the 150th anniversary of Knox’s birth in 1864 presenting the greatest collection of Knox’s metalwork (featuring exceptional and rare pieces of Liberty & Co) originating from a number of private collections never before shown in the public domain ever seen in a single venue. There will be a talk on 7 June ‘Archibald Knox: Beauty & Modernity – A Designer Ahead of His Time
‘ (4.00pm – 5.00pm)

Archibald Knox Cymric Rose Bowl, silver & enamel, WH Haseler, c. 1905

The range of items on sale at Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair 2014 will span over 35 different categories of art, antiques and collectibles including: 20th century art and design / antiquities and numismatics / arms and militaria /
Art Deco and Art Nouveau / Asian works of art / books and manuscripts / canes and walking sticks / carpets and rugs / ceramics / clocks and watches / contemporary art and design / furniture / glass / jewellery / lighting / miniatures / musical instruments / natural history / photographs / pictures and posters / prints and maps / scientific objects / sculptures / silver / sporting items / textiles and tribal art.

Here some of A-Gent of Style’s favourite vignettes at the Fair:

Nicholas Bagshawe

Nicholas Bagshawe


Hatchwell Antiques

Hatchwell Antiques


Sue Norman

Sue Norman





Christopher Butterworth

Christopher Butterworth


Robert Barley

Robert Barley

Dinan and Chighine

Dinan and Chighine


La Pendulerie

La Pendulerie





Wakelin and linfield

Wakelin and linfield


Vivioli Arte Antica

Vivioli Arte Antica



 – Photographs by Flint PR and A-Gent of Style – 





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The summer season at Christie’s South Kensington has now started, the most noteworthy landmark being, and you will all agree of course,
the feature of A-Gent of Style in the prestigious auction house’s June newsletter, which you can view in full here (shameless self-promotion).

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Additionally, following a very successful collaboration last July, Christie’s invited Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, interior decorating and antiques, Brook Street, Mayfair, to contribute to another innovative sale on 4 June that celebrates the best of interior design and decoration with an international reach and universal appeal.

A-Gent of Style is delighted to be collaborating with the two renowned houses on the feature of this sale, and he had the privilege to be given a preview guided tour of the exhibition on Thursday evening ahead of the opening to the public on Saturday.

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The Art of Design sale combines a carefully curated selection of 60 lots which exhibit the quality, elegance and world-class reputation of the Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler name alongside a collection formed over the course of a lifetime by the late Melbourne-born interior designer Lex Aitken and his partner, the esteemed fashion illustrator and designer Alfredo Bouret Gonzalez.

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Taken from their Sydney home and private collection (Aitken died last spring at the age of 83 in Sydney and Gonzalez now lives in Vancouver, having sold the Sydney home), this home contents sale will appeal to both first-time collectors and aficionados of design who will be attracted by the good taste synonymous with each contributor. The auction will include furniture, ceramics, pictures, lighting and decorative objects, forming 220 odd lots, with estimates from £300 to £80,000. The sale is led by two fine portraits, the first by Jacques-Emile Blanche (French, 1861-1942), entitled ‘Jeune fille à la fenêtre’, a charming full length oil (estimate £15,000-25,000) and a striking depiction of Mrs Moody, three-quarter length, in a white dress, holding a dog in her lap, in a landscape by British master George Romney (1734- 1802) with an estimate of £50,000-80,000 (shown here). The Romney can be seen hanging above the sofa in the Sydney home of Mr. Aitken and Mr. Gonzalez.

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Lex Aitken’s international career is reflected in the diversity of countries represented among the objects in this sale. Yet the influence of London is evident throughout as it was where he built his reputation in the 1960s as Lex Aitken Antiques, his eponymous business on the capital’s road of designers, Pimlico Road. Aitken’s integrity and flair endeared him to clients – including luminaries such as Lucien Freud, who shared his contagious enthusiasm for works of art, furniture and design.


 In a career that spanned almost two decades which brought him worldwide recognition, fashion illustrator Alfredo Bouret Gonzalez, Lex Aitken’s long-term partner, shared his taste and connoisseurship honed in Paris where he sketched for the great couture houses, Vogue and Harpers Bazaar, capturing effortlessly with his dazzling impressions and animated lines the golden age of haute couture, and was granted unique access to the reclusive genius Balenciaga. Gonzalez moved to London where he established his boutique, ‘Mexicana’, importing peasant shirts and other Mexican wear to a delighted London audience, which included HRH Diana, Princess of Wales and Valentino.

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A-Gent of Style was fortunate to be given a guided tour of the exhibition with Charlotte Young, the sales’ specialist at Christie’s, and Ronan Sulich, Christie’s Sydney representative. A-Gent of Style shamefully knew very little about aesthetes Aitken and Gonzalez and could hardly find any information online (where else these days?!) about their incredible careers and lives except a fascinating YouTube video on Gonzalez’ s life and career (which you can view at the end of this article). So it was with great appreciation and enjoyment that Sulich, who flew in to help with the curation (he knew Aitken and Gonzalez well, and had been to their storied house on several occasions over the years) delighted us both with stories and anecdotes that brought to life the glamourous life of parties, dinners and travels the international ‘A-gay’ couple had experienced together, surrounding themselves with eclectic collectable objets over the decades. Both Aitken and Gonzalez were generous supporters of the arts and after they retired to Aitken’s native Australia, settling in Sydney, they contributed to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the RMIT University and the Powerhouse Museum, Melbourne.

The exterior and an interior from the Sydney home of Lex Aitken and Alfredo Gonzalez

The exterior from the Sydney home of Lex Aitken and Alfredo Gonzalez

The Sydney home of Mr. Aitken and Mr. Gonzalez:

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Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler antiques:

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The Art of Design exhibition at Christie’s, South Kensington:

Viewing is opened until Tuesday 3 June 5pm with a late viewing this evening until 7.30pm. The auction will take place at 10 am on Wednesday 4 June.

You can view the full catalogue here.


















Some of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite picks from the sale:

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The Alfredo Bouret Gonzalez retrospective:

A-Gent of Style would like to thank Charlotte Young, the sales’ specialist at Christie’s, Ronan Sulich, Christie’s Sydney representative, and Trudi Ballard at Sibyl Colefax & Fowler for their assistance and support.

– Photographs by Christie’s, Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler, and A-Gent of Style

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