CLEAN BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND



 

If crystals and gems can clean up negative energy, can a gem-shaped soap get you squeaky clean, make you smell good AND purify your aura at the same time??


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These gorgeous, faceted shapes are not actually jewels but real soaps.
A-Gent of Style fell head over heels for these sybaritic gemstones and more precisely their angular cuts, their depth, their brilliance, their transparency, their range of colours and last but not least their fragrance. Aside from their cleaning virtues, they would also create a beautiful display and inject a dose of chic in any bathroom,  kitchen sink or even on a coffee table.

These Soap Stones, made by Brooklyn-based company PELLE, are handcrafted, handcut glycerine soap consisting of all natural, vegetable-based soap ingredients and are inspired by natural gemstones such as Rose Quartz and Aquamarine, and metamorphic rock such as Jade and Onyx. They combine these brilliant colours with the fragrant effects of essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Lemon-Basil, Grapefruit and Camphor (they also have unscented soaps). The full collection of Soap Stones range between 3 sizes and 7 colour/scent combinations.

And great news for UK readers: the Soap Stones are available from the Conran shops! Prices vary between £7, £16 and £29 according to the size.
Gemstones have never been so affordable.


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PELLE are designers and architects Jean Pelle and Oliver Pelle who met and studied at the Yale School of Architecture. From their studio in Red Hook Brooklyn, the husband and wife don’t limit themselves to just making soaps; they also create lighting, furniture, products and architecture. PELLE produces everything from shelving to candlesticks, lighting, and seating, all noteworthy for their out-of-the-box designs that re-imagine common decor necessities.

“Soap is such a malleable and sculptural material to work with”, the couple says. “It’s like plaster or clay, but it is so much easier to shape since it cuts like butter. Glycerin soap is particularly wonderful because of its transparency and its ability to take on other layers such as smell and color. We love how the soaps take on different looks – they’re great dry, but they’re kind of magical when they touch water. They look like glistening gems and the smell becomes stronger. Our inspiration comes from observing and re-imagining the possibilities of objects and spaces around us. Ultimately, our work is about a search for a unique beauty that is within the materials and forms we find in our process.”

Uniquely beautiful, the Soap Stones certainly are!


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– Photos by PELLE –




ARCHITECT TO THE CROWN: JAMES WYATT





Today’s subject is less contemporary (we are going back three centuries) and slightly more scholarly than Monday’s (see A-Gent of Style‘s review of the new and fascinating exhibition on fashionista Isabella Blow) but it concerns another tastemaker who hopefully will be equally appealing to you all.







On Monday, A-Gent of Style was delighted to be invited at lunchtime
by Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler – the distinguished interior design and decoration company – to a Press Preview at their legendary offices on Brook Street, W1 for a special exhibition organised between them and The Georgian Group commemorating the bicentenary of James Wyatt (1746-1813), one of the most accomplished and fashionable English architects of late 18th century, and celebrating his life, career and achievements in furniture, interior decoration and architecture through some of his most important projects such as Windsor Castle, Fonthill Abbey, Goodwood House, Heaton Hall, Castle Coole
and Heveningham Hall.



 “James Wyatt: Architect to the Crown and Designer of Complete Interiors” opened on Tuesday to the public until December, 6 (Monday-Friday 9.30am-5.30pm, free entrance so no excuse) and will be hosted at the Sybil Colefax & John Fowler headquarters, 39 Brook Street, London W1, a rare surviving Grade II example of a Regency house, in the very same house altered and extended by James Wyatt’s nephew and pupil, Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville). After being used as a ballroom later on, the upper floor gallery was then redecorated in the late 1950s by the legendary John Fowler as a drawing room for Nancy Lancaster, the then owner of the company, resulting in the iconic ‘Yellow Room’.

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It is always exciting to go to Brook Street; A-Gent of Style hadn’t been back since last year but still marvelled at each of the beautifully decorated rooms replete with truly exquisite furniture and objets as he made his way upstairs
to the ‘Yellow Room’. The room has been specially transformed for the exhibition but still has the ‘wow factor’: as soon as you step in, the high-gloss lacquered yellow walls give you this feeling of wonder and awe. And the yellow silk curtains are simply ravishing.



Designed specifically to complement the interiors Wyatt created at
Heveningham Hall, a selection of pieces of furniture are the focus of this collaborative exhibition designed by George Carter, and thanks to the generosity
of English Heritage, chairs, tripod flower stands, demi-lune tables, torchère and mirrors are on display for the first time in thirty years (the furniture was acquired by the government in the 1970s when Heveningham was sold by the Vanneck family) and it is a delight and a privilege to such beautifully crafted objects.
Their neo-classical refinement and delicacy (there are some clues to Gothic Revival too) bring freshness and seeming simplicity. It is worth noticing that much of Wyatt’s furniture was painted rather than carved and gilded, enhancing its delicate originality. And the palette of pastel colours and their combinations are magnificent (green and blue being one of them).











1778 chair by James Wyatt

1778 chair by James Wyatt


“Many of Wyatt’s furniture designs for Gillows passed into the hands of George Hepplewhite, a Gillow employee” explains the Georgian Group. They were published posthumously by Mrs Hepplewhite without any acknowledgment of the true designer. This plagiarism helped to immortalize the Wyatt style of neo-classical furniture design, as Wyatt himself never published his own work”.













Other items such as Wyatt’s original working drawings, sketches, engravings and some silverware made by Matthew Boulton (a couple of tureens) are on show as well as twelve modern watercolours of Wyatt interiors by Royston Jones, which are for sale. There is also a spectacular architectural model of Fonthill Spendens still in great condition. And if you have a close look at the model, you will see a small fountain in the courtyard. Don’t miss it.

Silver designed for Matthew Boulton

Silver designed by Wyatt and made by Matthew Boulton






To further your interest and knowledge about James Wyatt, three special lectures have been conceived to complement the exhibition:

21st November 2013 – Lecture / From Wyatt to Wyatville: an Architectural Dynasty, by Charles Hind, Chief Curator at The Royal Institute of British Architects

25th November 2013 – Lecture / James Wyatt, Furniture Designer, by architectural historian Dr John Martin Robinson

Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start at Colefax & Fowler, 39 Brook Street, London W1; £20 to include a pre-lecture glass of wine, which can be book by calling the Colefax Group Press Office on 020 7493 2231 or by email pressoffice@colefax.com



 
The exhibition is curated by Dr John Martin Robinson, an architectural historian and foremost expert on the Wyatt architectural dynasty. He is the author of a recently published and beautifully illustrated book, James Wyatt, Architect to George III, which has received great critical acclaim and will be on sale during the exhibition. Also on sale are postcards and tea towels featuring designs of commissions and furniture by James Wyatt. Perfect stocking fillers for Christmas!






Thanks to this fascinating, informative exhibition and series of lectures,
James Wyatt is given the recognition he highly deserves.

Make sure you attend!



– All photographs of the exhibition and the ‘Yellow Room’
by Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler with the Georgian Group –




WINTER FINE ART &ANTIQUES FAIR, OLYMPIA






The iconic National Hall of Olympia, London, came to life last night with the Collectors’ Preview of the Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair 2013.
With an exceptional range of over 30,000 pieces of art and antiques to whet all appetites, the fair, which opens today to the public and will run until Sunday 10 November, is in its 23rd year and still relevant to trade and collectors alike.
It attracts over 22,000 visitors year after year and continues to focus on high quality antiques from 130 dealers and provides unrivalled choice for collectors, decorators and international visitors alike, offering both the traditional to the quirky from over thirty disciplines including furniture, paintings, ceramics, jewellery, sculpture, textiles, silver and glass.




This year, the fair will be running alongside Asian Art in London, as well as some of the most important auctions in the winter season, so it’s the perfect time for collectors and art lovers to be in London. Highlights this year include Agatha Christie’s silver and Humphrey Bogart’s engraved glasses, as well as works by Archibald Knox, Sir Thomas Lawrence and Cartier.






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