A-Gent of Style was thrilled and honoured to be approached in August by Abigail Fielding-Smith at the Financial Times to help with the research of a new article on Art Deco (oh the power of social media and word of mouth!). Some of you might recall the first article A-Gent of Style co-researched a few months ago for the Financial Times on Art Deco and Paris named Read Between the Lines. This time, the feature concentrated on Art Deco and Egyptomania. Whilst A-Gent is no expert or specialist about Art Deco – just a humble and passionate aficionado – he was delighted to work on another Art Deco project and to delve with great alacrity into the singular aspect that is Egyptology – of which he knew little – one of the many influences of the prominent decorative and visual style of the 1920s and 1930s. It was also a great pleasure to see inspirational designers (Shahbaz Afridi, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, David Collins Studio, Lisa Fine, Tessa Kennedy, Lulu Lyttle of Soane Britain, Guy Oliver), some of whom A-Gent of Style has the privilege to call friends, being featured or quoted.
Below are the scans of the article which came out now three weeks ago in the House & Home section of the FT (A-Gent of Style was in Tangier at the time and had to wait to return to London to be able to see the print version). You can click on each image to enlarge it.
A big thank you to Abigail Fielding-Smith and the Financial Times for their trust and support.
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’.
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.
– Photos by Song Qi –
As mentioned yesterday on the blog in the article dedicated to Phillips’ two significant sales tomorrow showcasing 19th century and 20th century important objets, today’s post will be featuring the third exhibition of an equally anticipated sale on Wednesday focusing on 20th century decorative art and design, orchestrated this time by leading international auction house, Christie’s. Never has it been more thrilling for A-Gent of Style to witness at the same in London two events celebrating some of his most cherished designers and ensembliers.
It was shortly after meeting Tessa Kennedy last month at Christie’s, South Kensington, at the exhibition for the sale of her lifetime collection (which you can view here) that A-Gent of Style unexpectedly caught sight in a corner of the hallway of a rare Jacques Adnet desk and chair from 1950 in oak, beautiful caramel leather adorned with the designer’s trademark stitching and brass round pulls on the drawers. After some investigation, A-Gent of Style found out the Adnet ensemble would be part of a 20th Century sale scheduled for the end April, which brings us to today’s feature.
Last Thursday late afternoon, A-Gent of Style was greeted by Jeremy Morrison, the sale’s specialist, at Christie’s King Street, who very kindly gave him a private tour of the exhibition (his team was hurriedly putting the finishing touch as he arrived) before it opened to the public the following day. Since the Michael Inchbald sale a few months ago, the space had been split in two distinct areas, both beautifully curated into elegant vignettes, one dedicated to the 20th Century Decorative Art & Design and the other to the Lalique: An Important Private Collection.
The first sale encompasses objets from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements and also post-war and contemporary design, featuring a variety of stylish yet practical pieces suited to the collector, the interior decorator, and the private customer alike. Amongst the carefully selected works are chandeliers, mirrors, wall lights, dining tables and chairs, alongside unique eye-catching works of art including striking Art Deco figures and works in glass by some of the finest craftsmen of the 20th Century. With estimates ranging from £2,000-120,000, discerning collectors will not want to miss the opportunity to acquire quality works by the leading designers of the last 120 years. The sale is expected to realize in excess of £1,200,000 over 124 lots.
The Art Deco selection is led by one of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite furniture designers, Marc Du Plantier, whose ormolu-mounted ebonised wood and verre églomisé occasional tables, one with a mermaid motif and the other centred by a centaur, dated 1940-41, make a rare appearance (estimate £30,000-50,000). Antony Redmile’s 1970s camptastic bust, composed of shells, malachite and quartz, is of high-impact and makes a strong visual statement (estimate: £7,000-10,000). Fontana Arte’s mid 20th C rare and large circular chandelier in gilt-metal and silvered brass, with 40 lights issuing from curved candlearms rubs shoulders with Ruhlmann’s elegant dressing table, circa 1930 in mahogany and silvered metal. A-Gent of Style also spotted Lelli’s quirky and playful ceiling light, c.1954, produced by Arredoluce, in painted aluminium and brass, and last but not least, a pair of lounge chair (deceptively comfortable despite their low back. And yes, we tried them) by Leleu, circa 1960, in silvered metal, brass and upholstery.
The exhibition is on show until 12pm this Wednesday 30 April and the auction will be at 2pm. You can view the full catalogue here.
The concomitant sale is the single owner collection Lalique: An Important Private Collection which will also take place at Christie’s King Street on 30 April at 1pm. The calibre of this private collection bears testimony to the discerning eye of the collector and is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary vision and creativity of the master glass-maker René Lalique, who continues to enthrall an international audience nearly seven decades after his death. Distinguished from previous collections which have appeared on the market in the last decades, this collection primarily focuses on large-scale vases in rare designs and a wide spectrum of colours. In addition to the jewel-like coloured works, there are a number of exquisite hand-crafted cire perdue vases and a selection of significant display items, such as Oiseau De Feu, which features a mythical firebird and is illuminated from below (estimate: £25,000-35,000). With estimates ranging from £2,500 to £150,000, the 83 lots have a low estimate in the region of £1.5 million. Christie’s has been selling Lalique since 1971 and has offered more Lalique at auction than any other auction house internationally. In 2013, Christie’s Lalique sale in London realised over £1.3 million, the highest total ever achieved.
You can view the full catalogue here.
A-Gent of Style would like to thank Christie’s and especially Jeremy Morrison,
the 20th C design sale’s specialist, for all their help and support.
– All photographs by A-Gent of Style and Christie’s –