December 10 2013
Marc Péridis never intended to open a furniture shop. But when his day job as creative director of the British design studio Montage led him to an empty six-storey Victorian town house in London’s Soho, he knew that it was time to diversify. “I realised I’d found a building that was looking for stories to tell,” he says. “So I decided to fill it with design stories that were dying to be told.”
As business concepts go, this is a little vague, and 19 Greek Street is difficult to classify. Floors one and two act as an exhibition space (currently showcasing the gallery’s new interior-design collection, Wonderland), the third floor showcases a single designer, while the top floor is home to the store’s permanent collection.
It is a lot to take in. However, there is nothing muddled about 19 Greek Street. The space has been painted brilliant white and each room has been carefully furnished with Péridis’s discoveries. At the moment these include Rasmus Bækkel Fex’s extraordinary tilting 9.5º chair and 8.5º table (both from the Relatives collection, price on request), Juan Pablo Naranjo’s sculptural Platform tables (from £2,400) and Hilla Shamia’s striking tables (from £5,075) and consoles (from £7,440), which she creates by pouring molten aluminium onto sections of tree trunks. These pieces sit on the borderline between art and design, and if 19 Greek Street can be said to have a house style, this is it. “Most of the designs I choose for the gallery have a sculptural, almost dysfunctional side, as well as a super-functional one,” says Péridis.
Sustainability is another common feature – much of the furniture has been made using recycled or recyclable materials. Take Nina Tolstrup’s Re-Imagined limited-edition handmade seating collection (from £1,450), which is created from discarded office chairs that have been stripped back, rewelded and finally reupholstered in eye-popping fabrics.
Many of the items on sale are one-offs or made to order – a fact that has made the gallery a destination for design aficionados such as Tara Bernerd and Robert Duffy, CEO of Marc Jacobs. But Péridis is keen to make some of the pieces available to a wider audience. “I wanted to take a democratic approach with some of the designs,” he says, “so I have put a few of the smaller things with price tags under £1,000 online, and put other pieces into small-scale production.” These include a manufactured range of Tolstrup’s aforementioned Re-Imagined chairs, known as the Production Series collection (from £600). The designs went on sale last month and are every bit as beautiful as the handmade versions.
The store has just celebrated its first birthday. It is impossible to guess what customers visiting on its second will find displayed within those bright white rooms – but one thing is certain: it won’t be ordinary.