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.
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.
– Photos by Sketch –
– David Collins –
The wait is now over. Finally. The much-awaited ABCDCS book by David Collins Studio, heralded as the most important interior design book of 2014, is now available. After months of speculation and anticipation, the publication of the first monograph on (and partially by) David Collins will allow design connoisseurs and enthusiasts to ‘own’ a part of the rich legacy that the late designer left behind him in a career spanning almost three decades which somehow redefined people’s lives in public and private.
A-Gent of Style has expressed in various features on his blog the unswerving admiration and deep influence David Collins has had on him over the years,
which reached their peak when his design icon unexpectedly left a marvellous and rather flattering comment a year ago on his feature of his latest Alexander McQueen store.
Two weeks ago, A-Gent of Style had the privilege to be invited by David Collins’s long-standing team, now the custodians of his vision, to interview Communications Director, David Kendall, about the book, its genesis and its conception. Little did A-Gent of Style know he would be the first person outside the Studio to see the book that had arrived the day before from the publishers (Instagramers would have been teased that night by a preview shot of the final book cover).
And this is what A-Gent of Style will reveal about the book. ABCDCS is beyond chic. And timeless. Everything in this weighty tome is considered and striking (would you expect anything else from their studio?). It delights, surprises and is resonant with meaning. Organised alphabetically rather than chronologically, and showcasing David Collins’s myriads influences and inspirations, this unique and sleek epitaph boasts a bold portfolio of stunning images themed around buzz words and commentaries Collins had written himself.
As A-Gent of Style discovered ABCDCS for the first time, iconic but also lesser known or even unpublished projects – hotels, restaurant, bars, residences or retail spaces – popped up, as well as a great sense of pace and colour permeating it. Madonna’s foreword is honest and well-worded. A meticulous attention to details appears and captivates. Favourite collectable objects such as Line Vautrin, Fornasetti and Primavera resonate with ideas and mesmerise. The palette of colours associated with Collins’s works, principally his beloved trademark blue and its various gradation, shines through and dazzles.
ABCDCS is a unique piece of memorabilia, an essential reference book and a fitting tribute and celebration to a towering and much-missed personality of the design world. No doubt ABCDCS will instantly become a must-have and a classic on many coffee tables.
What was the inspiration for the book?
Back in 2009, we wanted to put together some sort of collateral for the launch event of our Ritz-Carlton residences, MahaNakhon, in Bangkok, and David came up with the idea of an alphabetical portfolio which would take the form of a small give-away book (fifty-two pages in the end) organised from A to Z, with one letter for each page, each letter representing a word, for instance Architecture, Beauty, Colour etc, and one image illustrating that word.
How did the ABCDCS come about?
After the event, David thought about turning this small book into a ‘proper’ book. We worked on it on and off for five years, updating it along the way. David would at times look at it, make amendments, edit it. The keywords changed every time we looked at it. M was for Music then he wanted it to be Madonna [he settled for Music in the end]. But the themes are the same; they were just refined over the years. We were very fortunate David finished writing the text for every letter by the end of last year. He was very good at writing. He was very much involved. He’d laid out the bones. There was little editing to do in the end [David points out David Collins had written a book on hotels, not his own, called ‘New Hotel: Architecture and Design’ published in 2001]. And we already had all the images. David had chosen some of them already and he also suggested we cropped others or use some details. All we had to do was produce and edit the final version.
ABCDCS. Why this title?
Can you describe the covers?
The front cover is David’s home in London. We went through many images but we wanted it to be one of his homes in the end. This image captures materials, colour, texture, a slightly abstract, dream-like quality, which is more engaging and intriguing than a ‘hero shot’, with the usual symmetry. We also preferred a close-up to show details. The image is layered with antique marble, metalwork, mohair carpet, shagreen, silk velvet. And of course, it shows shades of blue, David’s favourite colour. We worked for instance on the gold lettering which was too gold originally and settled on a more subtle brass finish. The actual book without the sleeve is covered in a purpley blue linen, another favourite colour of David’s.
The back cover is a close-up of the hand-stitched green upholstered walls in David’s home.
Can you tell us about the graphics?
Are all of David Collins Studio’s projects in the book?
Most of them have been included. The book has a variety of sectors, residential and commercials, and includes some of the last projects up to the last nine months.
We didn’t want to have a portfolio whereby there would be a section dedicated to each project. The themes dictated the images.
What can we expect from the book?
Can you tell us about your collaboration with Assouline?
It was a great collaborative project. I remember we’d produced first drafts. I had different dummies on my iPad and I ended up having a meeting with a publisher from Assouline in New York and, soon after showing them to her, she decided then and there they would love to publish it because it was so chic. Assouline were very supportive from the inception of the project. We’re delighted with the result. The photos are so strong as we worked with so many talented photographers over the years. The quality of the print is amazing. It would be lovely to see it translated in different languages.
How was the process for you?
It was a fun process, quite emotional of course too, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process and finally seeing the final copy. For me, personally, it had to be done properly; it’s David’s book, it had to be perfect. We’d been working on it for so long. We came close and true to David’s vision, I hope. We think he’d be happy with it. I’d love to do another one.
How was Madonna involved?
We reached out to Madonna because David had always said he’d like her to be part of it. She was wonderful. What came back from her blew our mind. It is a long, personal, beautiful and touching introduction. It hasn’t been changed at all, it’s completely verbatim. We’re very grateful to ‘Muriel’. You’ll have to get the book to understand why…
What does ABCDCS represent?
ABCDCS is a landmark for us. It marks the legacy we’ve inherited from David. It is timely. It is also a way of celebrating the Studio. We are very lucky to still be very busy; we have some exciting projects coming up. It will also be fun to celebrate the book, which was a huge task in the last year. We hope people will like it.
A-Gent of Style would like to thank David Kendall, Jodi Feder and Simon Rawlings at David Collins Studio for giving him the amazing opportunity to preview the book with an interview, and for all their help and support.
– Photographs by Assouline, David Collins Studio and A-Gent of Style –
A-Gent of Style started celebrating his visit to Paris last Saturday evening at the newly re-opened and much-hyped Hôtel Vernet. In the company of fellow Parisian blogger The Parisian Eye, he was greeted by ‘Master of the House’ and longtime Jean-Paul Gaultier model, Tarik Lakehal.
Situated off the Champs-Elysées in the ‘Golden Triangle’ off La Place des Etoiles and the Arc de Triomphe, The Hôtel Vernet is a prestigious hotel with a façade dating back to 1913 which was entirely renovated and refurbished in the last few years by renown Paris-based architect François Champsaur to celebrate the Hausmann building’s first centenary and help it transition into the 21st century.
The hotel boasts fifty sleek rooms, a restaurant with a stupendous original stained-glass dome designed by Gustave Eiffel, two private dining rooms and a bar.
It combines contemporary elements, minimalism, and craftsmanship with the elegance of its classical features. Rooms are curated like vignettes with a brilliant selection of artworks, bespoke commissions such as the undulated copper bar and the incredible rugs and frescos created by French visual artist Jean-Michel Alberola, noble materials such as marbles, metallics and polished woods and minimalist furniture à la Christian Liaigre.
– Photos by Hotel Vernet and A-Gent of Style –