THE ROCK OF MONACO and THE GOLDEN CAGE: SONG QI




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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’.



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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.



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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 – 



 

DESIGN and THE ARCHITECT at PHILLIPS LONDON




If it is significant relics from the 20th century (and some of the 19th century) you are seeking, you will be delighted to hear that London is currently blessed by three exhibitions and forthcoming sales by two prominent auction houses.

Today’s feature will look at the first two sales A-Gent of Style saw this week. Advance warning: not only are there in this feature incredibly beautiful and exceptional objets that discerning collectors will undoubtedly snap (Max Ingrand’s mirror in big diamond-shaped mirrored and cut glass is a sight to behold) but also a Polar Bear on the loose.


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Last Wednesday saw the preview of two important sales coming up next Tuesday, April 29, at Phillips. A-Gent of Style attended the evening drinks reception at Howick Place’s vast headquarters gathering significant and rare pieces never seen together before. Ranging from furniture, drawings, buildings, models, lighting and equipment from the 19th, 20th and 21st century, the pieces cover the Arts & Crafts, Wiener Werkstätte, Art Deco, Modernist and Bauhaus design periods.

Not too dissimilar to Artcurial’s Design of the 20th C sale last May in Paris (reviewed here), A-Gent of Style was delighted to be re-acquainted with some of his favourite designers and ensembliers such as Royère, Ruhlmann, Adnet, Dupré-Lafont, Giacometti, Ponti, Ingrand, Perriand, Jeanneret, Prouvé, Henningsen, Fontana Arte, Borsani, Lelii to name but a few amongst the vast selection of eminent game-players of last century’s design scene. An absolute treat for A-Gent of Style, self-proclaimed 20th century design junkie.

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This Design sale comprises 214 lots. Jean Royère’s important and unique ‘Tour Eiffel’ extendable dining table circa 1963 has the highest estimate at £300,000 – 400,000, followed by Diego Giacometti’s ‘Carcasse’ low table ‘petit modèle à la chauve-souris’ circa 1979, estimated at £200,000 – 300,000.
And joy of joy, there is an appearance of a Jean Royère ‘Ours Polaire’ sofa, circa 1952, estimated at £200,000 – 300,000 which will be a great addition to our ever-growing Polar Bear retrospective.

You can view the full catalogue here.


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The second sale, ‘The Architect’, was created and curated by American starchitect Lee Mindel (who gave a brilliant talk at the beginning of the evening about his curation), and brings together some of the best designs by architectural stars from the past two centuries in 103 lots. It will celebrate the contributions architects have made to our environment through the furniture, objects, and equipment they’ve invented in response to the buildings they’ve conceived.

Carlo Mollino’s unique and monumental ceiling light, designed for the Casa Orengo, Turin, 1949 is estimated at £220,000 – 280,000 and Jean Prouvé’s demountable entry lodge, from Ferembal, Nancy, circa 1943-1944, has a low estimate of £180,000 – 240,000.

You can view the full catalogue here.


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Here are A-Gent of Style‘s snapshots regrouping both sales. Viewing is still in full swing at Howick Place, SW1, today 12pm-6pm and then up until Tuesday 10am-6pm. Both auctions, which will be straight after each other, will start at 2pm. Happy bidding!

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– Image courtesy of Phillips –





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 –




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