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Autumn has slowly seeped in as we say goodbye to yet another successful and inspiring London Design Festival. But not all is doom and gloom. Phillips is spoiling us today at 2pm GMT with its September Design Auction at Howick Place of 20th and 21st C design. Offering iconic and exceptional works from European masters and other contemporary Japanese ceramics, as well as objets from the remarkable collaboration of Lucio Fontana and Roberto Menghi, two of it al’s most prominent postwar creatives, this sale comprising 182 lots and with a pre-sale estimate of £2,300,00 is bound to command huge interest with connoisseurs and collectors.

Some of A-Gent of Style‘s most cherished artists are gathered in this sale boasting highly desirable and museum-quality creations by a myriad of stellar designers and ensembliers including Ruhlmann, Royere, Mouille, Fontana Arte, Printz, Ingrand, Arredoluce, Arbus, Lelii, Rie, Ponti, Chareau, Le Corbusier, Perriand, Jeanneret, Sottsass, Lalanne, Crespi, Pergay, Panton, Hadid and many others. There is also another important sale at 6pm focusing on Nordic Design with exceptional pieces from Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

Here are A-Gent of Style‘s favourite pieces. You can view the full catalogue here.

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– All images by Phillips – 


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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’.


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.



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 – 




“I have always wanted to see things I imagine made into a reality”

– 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.

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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.

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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.

The interview:

David Kendall, Communications Director, David Collins Studio

David Kendall, Communications Director, David Collins Studio

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.

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MahaNakhon, Bangkok

MahaNakhon, Bangkok


MahaNakhon, Bangkok

MahaNakhon, Bangkok

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?

ABCDCS was David’s choice from the beginning. He always said that’s what it would be. And that’s what it is, ABCDCS!

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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?

The typography and the font were developed by the same graphic designer as the original small book, which were somehow inspired, amongst others, by the Goyard logo.


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.

Private residence

Private residence


The Blue Bar, The Berkeley, London

The Blue Bar, The Berkeley, London

What can we expect from the book?

Something chic but also a sense of pace and colour as you flick through the book. 

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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…


David Collins

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

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