International Interior Decorator and Furniture Designer, Francis Sultana gives his personal inside view on his involvement with PAD 2015 in London.
This year we celebrated the 9th edition of PAD – Patrick Perrin’s Parisian exhibition that celebrates the best of 20th and 21st century design and the most interesting antiques from around the world, set in the heart of Mayfair. As London fills with more and more of the world’s biggest collectors for Frieze and Frieze Masters each year, so PAD offers a pavilion dedicated to the world of design. The Monday night VIP event was literally the who’s who of the art and design world – proof that for many, cross-collecting across visual art and design is a growing trend that suits most collectors – both in terms of what they want to live with in their homes, and what it offers their own collection in the sense of diversity and interest.
I am a member of the PAD Jury, and always love the judging process - we all attend the show before it opens and get the opportunity to visit the stands alongside other members of the Jury such as Zaha Hadid, Yana Peel, Joanna Przetakiewicz, Julia Peyton-Jones, Elizabeth Saltzman, Nigel Coates and Allegra Hicks - it is always a good chance to catch up. The awards this year went to Konstantin Grcic for his 2008 Karbon lounge chair for Best Contemporary Design at Galerie Kreo and Best 20th Century Decorative Art work was awarded to the 1964 Pointe de Diamant wall and cabinet by Antoine Philippon and Jacqueline Lecoq.
An amazing 62 international galleries including 15 newcomers were on show. It is interesting to see the collectors but there is also a strong public interest, which is always nice to see that the work resonates with a wider audience, drawn to the quality of the pieces. At David Gill Gallery, of which I am Artistic Director, we brought together some of our most established names such as Mattia Bonetti who created wonderful new lights and a fantastic mirror and fireplace centre piece that many thought stole the show! We were also showing some of our home-grown British talent including the design duo Fredrikson Stallard. We also decided to show jewellery for the first time this year with the work of my dear friend Eliane Fattal and we were not alone as others also have begun to add jewellery to their PAD selection. Many collectors are women, and they all told us that they enjoyed seeing some smaller pieces at the show, not just the large hero pieces. First time exhibitor Siegelson from the US presented some Art Deco pieces which were rather wonderful and I really liked Herve van der Straeten’s stand once again this year - very chic.
I was delighted to be invited to design the PAD VIP bar and restaurant with my interior design studio Francis Sultana. For several days the space becomes one of London’s most exclusive meeting places and so I wanted to create theatre for a week in the heart of Berkeley Square. As PAD brings Parisian style to London every year, I wanted to celebrate PAD’s special Anglo-French relationship. With influences from the likes of Elsa Schiaparelli, Jean-Michel Frank and Emilio Terry, I also wanted to nod to the work of conceptual artists such as Daniel Buren and Ugo Rondinone. It was a huge success and Wallpaper magazine called it “opulent and intriguing” which was a great accolade.
We were delighted to show work by one of our artists Barnaby Barford who was showing a new piece called Utopia. Having had such huge success with his incredible Tower of Babel at the V&A during London Design Festival, people are really taking a major interest in this artist’s career and we also took him over to SALON Art + Design in New York as I know the Americans will love his British wit.
Our talk on cross-collecting for Wall Street Journal attracted a good crowd - hosted by Fiona Matthias, I enjoyed sharing my thoughts with an old friend, Dorothy Brewin, the producer who is gallerist Dominque Levy's partner. Dorothy has the most amazing taste as a collector so it was a great talk with her as part of the panel, about how to choose work, when to choose it but ultimately how to live with the pieces you collect. I think, as with everything, you must always love the piece you buy, not to think of it only it in collectable terms or its financial aspect, but to always ask yourself ‘do I like this piece?’ and - most importantly – ‘can I live with this piece’? That is how I collect and it has stood me in good stead over the years.
Francis Sultana has recently been named one of the world's Top 20 Interior Designers by Wallpaper magazine. Francis is launching his new furniture collection Lulu later this year.
Article by www.axa-art.co.uk