October 23 2010
With its quiet shopfront and unpretentious interior, Sigmar would be easy to miss, especially situated on a stretch of the King’s Road dominated by Designers Guild’s vivid façade. That would be a shame, as the furnishings and lighting available at this Scandinavian outlet have a similarly understated beauty.
“Everything is based around the idea of modernism – from the mid-20th century to the present day – because the style is still so relevant to today’s homeowners,” says Nina Hertig, a Danish furniture expert trained by Sotheby’s, who set up the shop with Swedish interior designer Ebba Thott five years ago.
Inspiration for the shop’s name came from late German artist Sigmar Polke. “Everything he did was poetic and beautiful,” says Hertig. “For us too, it’s all about the integrity of the designs. We place a lot of emphasis on quality and materials.”
“The luxury is in the making,” adds Thott. “We love telling clients the stories behind each piece.”
Their customers, who include Manolo Blahnik, Queen Rania of Jordan and Claudia Schiffer, clearly lap this up. “We know 80 per cent of our clients,” says Hertig.
Many of the designs at Sigmar are one-offs, so if you like anything, you have to snap it up. On a recent visit I admired a Thonet bentwood rocking chair dating from 1900 (£980), a 1940s wicker bench and umbrella stand by Carl Auböck (£1,250) and a pair of 1970s solid-oak chairs by Børge Mogensen (£4,200 for two). There are 1950s mirrors with slender, rosewood frames (£550) and serried rows of 1930s patinated-brass hooks (£125 each), again by Austrian designer Carl Auböck.
Contemporary designs include graceful, pendant Ball lights by Michael Anastassiades (from £450); slatted, bent-birchwood lampshades from Finnish company Secto (pendant, £675; wall, from £295), and Charlene Mullen’s hand-embroidered cushions (£110). Hand-block-printed wallpapers (from £200 per 10m roll) and fabrics (£150 a metre) by Marthe Armitage are also worth seeking out. Meanwhile, newcomers such as Studio Glithero and Max Lamb have benefited from special shows of their work at the shop.
Sigmar’s interior design service accounts for 50 per cent of the company’s business. This ranges from designing a single piece of furniture or lighting to fitting out an entire house. Increasingly, hotels and restaurants are beating a path to its door in search of vintage items.
“Sigmar is a philosophy more than a look, so we’re pretty adaptable, and our work suits both contemporary and classic interiors,” says Thott. “We use a lot of texture and fabrics – and bringing the soul back into a space is our main aim.”