House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Nigel Coates

The architect-designer lays plans for three upcoming shows

Nigel Coates

February 28 2012
Nigel Coates

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Back in the blog saddle, and new year, new week. I’ve decided this will be my year as a polymath designer (and not just an architect), which means more products, more exhibitions and more visibility for my own quirky way of doing things. The downside is that I’ve been to Milan (the undisputed capital of design) twice in the past two weeks, trying to plan things for the Salone next April. I’m beginning to feel like a local, destined to rattle around its star-shaped street plan in search of the perfect venue. Last week I was there for two days and ate twice in my current favourite restaurant, Bistrot della Pesa, where they serve the best risotto alla Milanese in town. It’s so yellow it’s hard to believe all that colour comes from saffron.

Anyhow, for the moment I’m in London and checking out the venue for the second of three shows in the months ahead – Clerkenwell Design Week at the Order of St John in May. Rather than furniture producers, design galleries will occupy the church. I’m with Vessel, the glass gallery, and we’ll be showing upmarket lamps in hand-blown crystal. With luck we’ll figure out how to avoid interference from the treacle darkness of the paintings, the golden bling of the altar and the lurid heraldry of the many flags poking from the wall.

Back at the studio I need to print my boarding pass for tomorrow’s flight to Milan (yes, again) and map out the publication I want to do as a catalogue for the three shows. I’d like it to have a magazine style rather than be a straight collection of pictures of the pieces. I’ll write a contextualising story for each show – the first will be in a derelict house in Milan for the Fuori Salone. The second is the aforementioned Clerkenwell Design Week in May, and hopefully the third is also in London during Frieze in October. A busy few months ahead.

I never sleep well the night before flying. In bed, Radio 4 takes me into the oneiric world with the news that police have surrounded the tents at Occupy London outside St Paul’s. During the night I wake up momentarily with the distinct impression that my lights show has migrated from St John’s to St Paul’s.

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