An essential pit stop on this year’s London Design Festival trail is Mallett in Mayfair. At first glance, the antiques dealer is traditional in every way. For 150 years, it has sourced 18th- and 19th-century English furniture for collectors, royalty and museums, while its headquarters are in Ely House, a grand London palace built in 1722 for the Bishop of Ely. Yet in recent years, it has been swerving towards the contemporary, commissioning designers who share a respect for craftsmanship to create one-off pieces for its alternative collection, Meta.
Its most recent partnership is with young Vancouver-based design studio Bocci, whose reputation has flourished due its intricate handmade chandeliers, which resemble controlled explosions of wires and glass. For Mallett, Bocci has created two new pieces. Bespoke 57 (£135,540, second picture) is a 14m-long tangle of mirrored, globular lampshades, spun together with brass wire. It will hang in the stairwell of Ely House until next year. Meanwhile, the 28.61(£64,350, first picture) looks like hundreds of white moons spinning out of orbit on copper wires.
Also included are three pieces from Bocci’s 19 series of sand-cast copper dishes with recycled brass surrounds (£3,000-£20,000). Each is unique, having been cast by hand in the oldest foundry in western Canada.
“Mallett and Bocci share a passion for beautifully crafted pieces, should they be of the 18th century or the 21st,” says Meta production manager Eléonore Halluitte Andrews. “With this installation, Mallett challenges design aficionados and antiques collectors to see beyond the age gap and embrace the richness the pieces share.”
Also on show will be a prototype of Glacier, a solid-glass chaise longue by Australian designer Brodie Neill that was produced in conjunction with Patrick Brillet Fine Art in 2011. In what is a further juxtaposition of the old and the avant-garde, Mallett collaborator and Wapping Project founder and creative director Jules Wright has relocated her Bankside photography gallery to Ely House. It opens on the same day with a show of surrealist portraits by Dutch artist Juul Kraijer.