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The talents of the multi-hyphenated David Collins and its manifestations in our lives have been storied in manifold articles on this blog since its creation, and today’s feature will reveal this time not the illustrious and magical bars, restaurants, hotels and stores Collins is associated and revered for around the world, but one of his residential projects. And a special one at that. His very own house and its ‘eclectibles’.

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On 4 November, 2014 at 1pm at King Street, Christie’s will be offering at auction the collection of renowned interior architect David Collins. Following his untimely death in 2013, the estate sale, aptly named “Luxury – Colour – Texture, The Collection of David Collins”, crystallises his subtle yet distinctive vision that now pervades the contemporary aesthetic and urban landscape. His imagination and creativity brought to fruition luxury interior design and architectural projects across the globe. The projects created by his eponymous Studio, that carries the designer’s name and keeps his legacy alive and prosperous, represent deeply-textured interiors that feel simultaneously contemporary yet established, rooted in the life and traditions of their respective locations and exemplifying the designer’s extraordinary capacity to reinvent and reinterpret the past. Comprising 200 lots and with estimates ranging from £300 to £60,000, the sale is expected to realise in the region of £1 million.


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The official preview being scheduled only this evening, A-Gent of Style was thrilled to be given an exclusive preview and private tour of the exhibition last night by Christie’s sales specialist Jeremy Morrison and Jodi Feder, Brand Manager of David Collins Studio – . As he walked up the main staircase into the Great Room and its annex on the first floor, A-Gent of Style couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder as the beautifully and meticulously curated room sets and vignettes unravelled before his eyes revealing for the first time the objets in situ – principally of or inspired by mid-century French taste, either vintage or manufactured by the Studio – that so far had only been available to see in print or online, and therefore permeated with a certain mystique.

This seminal sale and accompanying exhibition will provide discerning collectors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to, firstly, see the contents of mainly one unique house (Bramham Gardens, Kensington), to recognise the ultimate legacy of an aesthete before its dissipation to disparate new owners, and also to acquire exemplary works of art, pieces of furniture and memorabilia from Collins’s personal world.

Despite the undeniable sense of bittersweet feelings when the extra ordinary collection of an extra ordinary tastemaker such as David Collins is dispersed after a sale, the tangible sense of thrill and intrigue as to which appreciative acquisitors will win the bids and carry on his legacy and memory through his belongings and creations as well as the anticipation of seeing said objects resurface at auctions in the future (and then find out their new values!) only serve to make us realise that David Collins’s journey to enhance our lives is far from over.


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Among the furniture, lighting, works of art, photographs and pictures by major 20th Century designers and artists included in the sale are works by Marc du Plantier, Jean Royère, Fontana Arte, Christian Bérard, Line Vautrin, Ado Chale, Wolfgang Tillmans, Steven Klein (including two photographs from the series ‘Madonna Rides Again’, which were a gift from Madonna), Nicolas Aubagnac, and Mario Testino. These are complemented by works conceived by the late David Collins and his eponymous Studio, in their signature style.

Highlights include a pair of floor lights by Paul Dupré-Lafon (estimate £30,000 – 50,000), a glass coffee table by Fontana Arte (£8,000 – 12,000) and a portrait of an acrobat by the French painter Christian Bérard (estimate £40,000 – 60,000).

To view the full catalogue, click here.

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A special thanks to Christie’s and Jeremy Morrison, Senior Director and the sale specialist, and Jodi Feder at David Collins Studio for their help, trust and support.

– Photos by Christie’s, David Collins Studio and A-Gent of Style –

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Hamish Bowles needs little introduction. Especially if you read this blog. Most of you are now familiar with A-Gent of Style’s fascination (understand obsession/crush on his persona and also homes) with Vogue‘s international editor at large, also ultimate modern dandy, tastemaker and style arbiter (you can see my past features on Bowles here).

The World of Interiors is spoiling us once again with the November issue which this time reveals the new and magnificent Manhattan apartment of Monsieur Bowles, not only a treat but also an assault on the eyes, courtesy of Studio Peregalli, makers extraordinaire of history-imbued interiors (the book of their work evocatively titled “The Invention of the Past” is a must by the way).


Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli

Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli

Bowles The Dapper entrusted the Milan-based design and architecture firm composed of Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini, for their notorious, uncanny skills to capture the  historical styles and sensibility, beauty and romance of past eras. In these visually intense interiors, the classicist duo have mixed the British, French and Russian styles treasured by their discerning client, that are evocative somehow of Marcel Proust, Madeleine Castaing and also a bit of Henry James and Luchino Visconti for good measure.

The beauty and magic of using makers and dreamers of interiors such as Peregalli with the impecccable taste and wonderfully eclectic antiques and objets of a globe-trotting acquisitor such as Bowles, is that this project already looks and feel centuries old, timeless and timeworn. And already a favourite of your A-Gent of Style. You wouldn’t believe at first glimpse that a huge overhaul had been needed – until you read the article penned by Bowles himself – when you see this grand, stately home. The result is quite staggering: great proportions, double-height windows, custom-dyed fabrics, ravishing chintzes such as the Lee Jofa and of course the soon-to-be iconic antique lilac print that envelops the master bedroom (for those who are not in the know, lilac is Bowles’s favourite colour; his Instagram account is ‘hamishinlilac’), bespoke joinery, wood-panelling, boiseries, pediments, Palladian arches, paintings and artefacts, and of course illusional tricks such as trompe-l-oeil, typical of Renzo Mongiardino, legendary decorator who took Peregalli and Sartori Rimini as his protégés (see my special features on the Italian master of visual trickery here).

 Thanks to superb artistry and craftmanship, the duo, who would “strive for the atmosphere of a Vermeer painting”, have created layered, textured, patterned mises-en-scène with an intoxicating sense of theatricality (names like Tony Duquette and Oliver Messel come to mind) that capture the essence of the jet-setter and also the ‘Englishman in New York’ who has stayed true to some beloved English decorating traditions and sensibilities such as the seemingly mismatched, cluttered, piled-on but also cosy, bold and studied look, fearless of any trends, types and conventions.

In Bowles (and Peregalli) We Trust.

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by David Downton

by David Downton, at Claridge’s, 2013

– Imagery from The World of Interiors – 

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