THE ROCK OF MONACO and THE GOLDEN CAGE: SONG QI




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Whilst London is currently getting the dusty pink treatment via Sketch courtesy of India Mahdavi, Monte Carlo welcomes today a new addition with an injection of plush green and chic black in a décor where every inch is opulent, every detail visually exciting, and sharp angles cohabit harmoniously with curvaceous shapes.

Iconic Hong Kong-born chef and restaurateur Alan Yau, creator of internationally starred London establishments Wagamama, Hakkasan, Busaba, Yauatcha and Princi (each and single one coincidentally one of A-Gent‘s regular haunts), opens today, for lunch, in Monaco the majestic doors of Song Qi. The Principality’s first luxury Chinese restaurant, co-founded with proprietor Riccardo Giraudi, was conceived by Monaco-based design duo Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet and reflects the golden age of Shanghai in the 1930s whilst the name evokes not only the famous Chinese dynasty but also refers to the philosophical meaning of ‘qi’, a notion that translates as ‘breath’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘power’.



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Situated on Avenue Princesse Grace overlooking the harbour, the 100 square-metre eatery with 75 covers has been created with refined materials, sumptuous features and meticulous Art deco detailing with a contemporary twist. The chic
black lacquer panelling and marble-topped tables are softened and counterbalanced by the plushness of the martini olive-green velvet, somehow reminiscent of Paris restaurant Monsieur Bleu designed by Joseph Dirand (don’t be deceived by the name; see A -Gent of Style‘s feature here), covering the banquettes and also the Ico Parisi-esque chairs with spiny legs and brass sabots. The large geometric black-and-white star tiled floor stretches across the single room under a silver-leaf coffered ceiling to give centre stage to a lacquer box and golden cage-shaped private dining booth with strong accent of brass also echoed on the finishes of the lattice-fronted bar, table frames, mirrors and lighting around the restaurant. The cuisine will be traditional Chinese with ingredients sourced in France although spices will be imported from China, and the fine wine offering will feature references from around the world.

Another reason for A-Gent of Style to detour via the Monegasque capital this summer on his ritualistic visit to the Riviera.



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Riccardo Giraudi and Alan Yau, creators of Song Qi

Riccardo Giraudi and Alan Yau, creators of Song Qi


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– Photos by Song Qi – 



 

DUSTY PINK IS THE WORD: THE GALLERY at SKETCH



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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.”


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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



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– Photos by Sketch – 





BOOK END No14




“Straight I walked to the trellis vine. Wisteria touched a lifted nostril:

Feelings of beauty diffused, to entwine my spirit with June’s own aura.”

– Ann McGough, Summons –


Here are A-Gent of Style‘s June picks 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.



All books are available or can be ordered from
The Bookshop at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour +44 (0) 20 7351 6854 / @theBOOKSHOPat

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 No1, Book End No2, Book End N03, Book End N04, Book End No5Book End No6, Book End No7, Book End N08, Book End No9, Book End No10, Book End N011, Book End N012, Book End N013.


Happy reading!




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