House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Francis Sultana

A non-stop day for the London designer, fuelled by cup cakes

Francis Sultana

October 12 2011
Francis Sultana

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

It is my usual start to the day and after some catch-up email I head straight for my hour of gym therapy. Energised, I have a quick turnaround and at 9am I am already with Yana Peel, co-founder of Outset Contemporary Art Fund, for a breakfast she is hosting. She is a vision this morning in Alaia, and accessorised to perfection.

This morning the focus is on the newly set-up Design Fund, for which I am chairman of the Patrons Group; among us is Martin Roth, the newly appointed director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. I met him briefly last week for the first time and he really wowed me with his energetic and passionate approach to his new post – I am sure he will be instrumental in the exciting new future of the museum. We are also fortunate to have the hugely knowledgeable and enthralling Alice Rawthsorne give a talk on “design in history”; she has a wonderful aptitude for captivating an audience and leaving them eager to learn more.

The 60-strong group disperses and we head to Berkeley Square, where I lead a private tour of the Pavilion of Art and Design to give my point of view on the pieces that really stand out for me at the fair this year. I have most of my ladies’ attention for some time until the last quarter of the tour when we visit Louisa Guinness’s stand – and before you know it they are all ooohing and aahing over her exquisite jewellery. I know at this point my tour is over!

I head to the office for a late lunch with my team. I am working on my second furniture collection, which I plan to launch in Paris next spring, and there are decisions to be made on samples, colours and finishes. It’s all looking extremely good and is quite an exciting departure from the first collection I launched last summer, called Homage to the Art Deco. I eat and work and then, as if an angel knew just what we all needed, one of our divine clients has a delivery of cup cakes sent as a little treat – and, in my case, a much-needed sugar boost (I am normally one to resist, but tough schedules call for tough measures).

After that I make a quick dash home for a change of look for the evening, and I am back at Pavilion of Art & Design for the VIP opening and to sell a few more chairs from my show for the NSPCC. The evening is buzzing with special guests, and I meet the delightful Susan Crewe, editor of House & Garden, who absolutely loves the Child’s Chair Project, so we amuse ourselves with conversation about approaching interior designers to customise chairs for the next initiative. I see in the distance two of my favourite clients and best girlfriends, both of whose homes I am working on; we embrace and I tell them all is on schedule (unlike myself this evening!).

I hastily leave to attend a dinner that I can only stay at briefly, hosted by the dynamic and cutting-edge gallerist Sadie Coles with another of my favourite gallerists, Eva Presenhuber. Eva and I discuss at length the topic of human rights – she has just hosted an event at her gallery in Zurich supporting this, and I am attending a dinner benefiting the cause this Friday.

Then I set off to see briefly one of my favourite ladies from Kuwait with pioneering artistic taste who is also hosting a dinner for artists and designers. Finally I arrive at the last party of the evening, hosted by my dear friend Harry Blain and his beautiful wife Bodil who I spot across the crowded room immediately as she is so tall and glamorous (as always) tonight. Suddenly the place is buzzing with guests from the art world arriving from various dinners being given all over London, and I see Yana once again as I discreetly make my exit. We smile knowingly at each other – it’s been another long day and I need to get home for some rest.

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