Art history’s greatest names have long been a source of inspiration in design, with inventive results that channel the spirit and ideas of the original masters rather than borrowing directly. Paolo Moschino at Nicholas Haslam Ltd’s slender ‘Nicolae’ floor lamps (pictured top) are made from layers of chalky white plaster, a material favoured by masters such as Giacometti and Serge Roche. Manuel Canovas has looked to the colour sensibility of Henri Matisse, and his maxim: “Colour exists in itself, possessing its own beauty.” Pictured (centre) are ‘Mona’, a vivid embroidery (on curtains), ‘Vence’, a wool-mix stripe (on cushion), and ‘Castillon’ embroidery (on footstool), all from Colefax and Fowler. Esti Barnes of Topfloor by Esti was inspired by the father of op-art, Victor Vasarely, for a new rug collection: ‘Emboss’ (pictured bottom) harnesses the artist’s use of geometric patterns and colour gradation to achieve a similarly three-dimensional effect.
World-renowned lighting designer and glass artist Jaroslav Bejvl has created the ‘Crystal Ribbon’ chandelier, a dynamic design based on organic curves. Made from Czech crystal glass, the design’s use of 3D technology ensures the silhouette looks different from every angle; the unique brilliance of Bohemian glass means it constantly changes in front of one’s eyes. It is on display in Gladee Lighting’s new larger showroom on the third floor of the North Dome. From modern masterpieces to crystal show-stoppers, the carefully chosen statement lighting is dramatic but organic, and crafted to the highest level.
At London Design Week 2019, Gladee Lighting also participated in the ‘Legends’ showroom initiative, selecting a Norman Parkinson image of American fashion model Nena von Schlebrügge at the Brussels World’s Fair for Vogue in 1958. Von Schlebrügge’s hourglass silhouette, and the twisting sculpture in the background, make a fine visual match for the chandelier.
Fathom the depths to discover design that incorporates watery motifs such as scallops and scales. Jean Paul Gaultier’s ‘Ecailles’ wallcovering (pictured top) from Lelièvre Paris looks convincingly three-dimensional thanks to the metallic thread that edges each individual scale, while lacquered furniture from US brand Oomph (pictured centre), available from Nina Campbell, includes the ‘Capri’ vanity unit with its layers of scalloped detailing. Arteriors’ ‘Ramya’ pendant is made from coconut shells dyed a rich black: the uniqueness of each shell results in an organic-looking piece where the light is permitted to peep through at irregular intervals.
New arrival Thibault Van Renne has opened a new showroom in the North Dome: the Belgian designer behind the brand specifically wanted to create a space where people could be encouraged to see, touch and admire his handcrafted rugs (pictured top) up close.
To showcase these sophisticated works of art for the floor, design duo architect Oleg Klodt and designer Anna Agapova were invited to implement a gallery-like concept for the space. Their own O&A London collection of furniture and lighting is also presented, complementing the distinctive look. Meticulously conceived lighting like this ‘Avior’ pendant (pictured bottom) can be traced back to the luxury of the art deco and late-modernist movements: every piece is an eloquent, original expression of architectural sensibility.
Bella Figura’s new flagship showroom has craftsmanship at its core, inspired by the techniques that underscore its lighting collection. Working closely with a master craftsman, bespoke furniture and fixtures have been created for the much larger space. Expect designs across a broad style spectrum, from retro to transitional through to ultra-contemporary, handmade from the finest materials in England and Italy. Pictured are a ‘Halo’ pendant and ‘Glacier’ and ‘Arctic’ table lamps.
Newly expanded in time for London Design Week 2019, the Second Floor Café in Design Centre East is now a richly decorated space that demonstrates the craftsmanship on offer from many of the showrooms. Glossy dark teal tiles from Artisans of Devizes contrast with Watts of Westminster’s florid ‘Wolterton Verdure’ digitally printed wallcovering, while smart brass lighting comes courtesy of CTO Lighting, new to the Fox Linton showroom. This intimate setting is the place to pick up soup, a sandwich or a salad, or enjoy a grab-and-go coffee or cold-pressed juice.
The space also incorporates ‘WPR Silver Leaf’ wallcovering from Altfield, in a subtly shimmering gold and silver; ‘Stella’ leather upholstery in Caspian Sea from Edelman Leather; and ‘Wharfside Porcelain Quercia’ floor tiles from Artisans of Devizes, a rustic oak-effect porcelain.
Fox Linton’s showroom has undergone a shining transformation, with new brands introduced alongside its own fabrics and wallcoverings. Among its own collections is ‘Springtide’, the company’s first double-width wallcovering; its subtle pattern mirrors the intricate markings on coastal rocks and cliffs left by waves over time. The showroom is now host to two more compelling brands, with statement lighting from CTO Lighting and furniture by Stuart Scott. Both new additions offer a window on to British craftsmanship at its best: Scott is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, and his pieces are all hand-made in Wiltshire, and signed and numbered as a mark of quality.