House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Francis Sultana

The designer kicks off a busy week for business and pleasure

Francis Sultana

October 11 2011
Francis Sultana

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Monday morning: my usual 5.45am start and it’s a one-hour window of emails. I have to start this early, but it being dark outside – let’s just say it’s not easy. Then it’s my moment for me: my one-hour work-out at the gym with my trainer, Kat. She energises me mentally and physically and is such a sweetheart so we always end up having fun getting ready to take on the day.

I look at my day’s schedule on my return (which among other things helps me decide what I will be wearing) and glance at the week – it’s a busy one ahead, with the openings of both the Pavilion of Art & Design (PAD) and Frieze taking place. After a quick briefing with my London team, to keep abreast of some of my current interior projects (we are close to reaching deadlines now in St Moritz, Monte Carlo and a family property in Belgravia), I am off in the Sultana “wagon”, and head over to PAD in Berkeley Square. The fair is now in its fourth year in London, and has gone from strength to strength with 58 international exhibitors now present. The opening of the fair is tonight, and first I check in with the stand that I have curated for the NSPCC: “A Child’s Chair Project II”. I have asked a selection of designers, including Zaha Hadid, Amanda Levete, Fredrikson Stallard and Max Lamb among others, to customise a white Verner Panton child’s “S” chair, with all proceeds going to the charity. The display is looking fantastic.

After that I join Patrick Perrin, the wonderful and very charismatic director of the fair, and my fellow judges to walk around. After an hour and a half of a most enjoyable tour looking at some of the best art, furniture and jewellery dealers from around the world, we all head to Morton’s to make our selection over a very entertaining lunch. Among us and adding all her worth is Janice Blackburn, together with the divine Patrick Kinmouth, the mischievous Jasper Conran, the interior design guru David Collins and the fabulous Julia Peyton-Jones, who gives us the art angle. Every year poses a challenge as the quality is so high, and this year we all agree that Jacques Lacoste must win the best booth. Great lunch, great crème brûlée, great group of judges!

Next it’s over to the house in Belgravia to check in with Madam R, who is hosting the Outset Frieze reception on Wednesday. The house is a commotion of new art arriving, hangers and delivery men – as her decorator I give my advice and run on. There is much still to cover this afternoon.

After a brief stint back at the office checking over some new designs, I return to PAD at 5pm for the private preview kicking off. We have sold three chairs on the stand, leaving eight more to be sold, so the lovely NSPCC girls are terribly excited and this is a great start to the week’s event.

My final destination is the home of Madam E, who is hosting a dinner for our dear friend Carlos Mota who has just arrived in from New York. It is a most enjoyable evening and Patrick Kinmouth has everybody roaring with laughter. I spot the fantastically stylish Carlos Souza before I leave with Madam V, as it’s just gone midnight and I need to get my rest for another busy day.

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