September marks the arrival of several notable art, design and interior fairs taking place in the capital over the next few months. The vast majority of these events, however, are only open to VIPs and industry insiders, so where do us mere Muggles find the best in design? The Resident asks a design professional where to find the best places to source designer homewares in London…
Anthony Bevacqua, Design Director at renowned interior design firm Janine Stone & Co, knows a thing or two about sourcing designer furniture, crafts and objects for your home.
‘In some of the best places to find furniture and objects for your home, you can’t always walk-in off the street, in many places you will have to make an appointment’ he says.
This may sound a little daunting, particularly if you just hoping to browse, but Anthony assures me that it’s simply a different kind of experience, one where you’re more likely to discover something that piques your interests and requirements, led by the curator or manager.
It’s important to keep in mind that visiting some of these stores is more akin to visiting art galleries, such is the rarefied nature of their stock.
1 Sigmar, King’s Road, Chelsea SW3
‘If you like Scandinavian mid-century design in particular, then you’ll do well paying a visit to Sigmar in Chelsea,’ says Bevacqua.
‘What I love about Nina and Ebba [Sigmar’s founders], is that they source unique Nordic furniture and objects, that are exceptional in quality, but also look as if they could have been made only yesterday.’
The duo is ‘well connected with the international auction houses’, adds Bevacqua, and this, combined with a fantastic eye for design, has been one of the secrets of their success.
Since launching in 2005, there’s no doubt this Swedish-Danish duo’s store is a destination for classic Scandi-design.
2 Valerie Wade, Fulham Road, Chelsea SW3
‘Valerie Wade’s showroom is bang in the centre of Chelsea Cross, surrounded by a clique of home and interior shops,’ says Bevacqua. ‘There’s always an eclectic mix of 20th century furniture, lighting, objects to hanker over, and Chelsea Cross is one of the most fashionable areas to source art, antiques and furniture in London.
‘I’m not surprised that Valerie was once the Sunday Time’s fashion editor… she has a great ability to select items for her store that are among the chic-est you’ll find.
‘I remember purchasing an Indian, mid-century, silvered openworks box from Valerie Wade for one of our recent interior projects in Belgravia, it was only a small item but the ornateness of the object really added to the majesty of the games room we were creating. It’s those details that our clients love.
‘On another occasion we commissioned Valerie to produce a custom designed chandelier, featuring 1,200mm long shards hand blown by the best Murano glassmakers in the world. The result was a truly spectacular one-off decorative piece for our client’s home.’
3 Gallery FUMI, Hay Hill, Mayfair W1
‘Gallery FUMI in Mayfair is more of a gallery than a conventional store,’ says Bevacqua. ‘As soon as you step through the door, your natural instinct is to plant both feet on the wooden floor, stare, and try to process what’s in front of you.
‘I love it because I immediately become lost in their “exhibition”, forgetting everything written on the spec sheet in my hands. The significance of each item is always passionately explained to me by Verena or whomever is working in the gallery that day.’
Gallery FUMI tends to work with emerging artisans and craftsmen, adds Bevacqua. ‘Most of the items for sale are either complete one-offs or made in very small batches. The gallery’s a good place to visit if you’re looking for something original.’
4 Michael Reeves, Pimlico Road, Belgravia SW1
‘When I am looking for something that is luxurious, yet beautifully understated, I often pay a visit to Michael Reeves’ showroom in Blegravia,’ says Bevacqua.
He also designs and manufacturers his own range of furniture, which Bevacqua describes as ‘elegant, often utilising neutral tones, fine fabrics and featuring a bias towards comfort. He has exceptional accessories that can add that quirky and unique, perfect finishing touch.’
5 Willer Gallery, Holland Street, Kensington W8
‘I can’t think of how many items we must have sourced from the Willer Gallery in recent years that I have also coveted to furnish my own apartment,’ says Bevacqua. ‘I am always confident the perfect pieces will be found in Rebecca Willer’s gallery.
‘She is a true aesthete, who manages to source objects, in particular table settings, but also lighting, textiles, furniture and numerous accessories from artists internationally, that you would just never have found by yourself.
‘A lot of the homeware she showcases are collaborations between herself and the artists she discovers. It mainly gets purchased by us designers and private collectors, so if you are buying something from her, you really are procuring something from among the best in London – and the world.’
Anthony Bevacqua is the Design Director of Janine Stone & Co., which for more than 30 years has been designing exceptional homes and interiors in London, the UK and internationally. Project appointments can be made via email@example.com or 020 7627 5300
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