Every time Mayfair looks as though it is in danger of losing its sparkle to the satellite states of St James’s, Knightsbridge or Belgravia, up it jumps and shakes its razzle-dazzle, proving it still has “it”. The latest addition to its shiny armoury of chic is the arrival of the Achille Salvagni Atelier – an oasis of old-school glamour on Grafton Street.
Salvagni was born in Rome, where he trained as an architect. In 2000, he established his own architectural and interior-design practice, which morphed into Achille Salvagni Architetti in 2002. With a flourishing studio dedicated to projects for private residences, luxury apartments and yachts, Salvagni established a workshop in Rometo produce his own limited-edition furniture, lighting and objets in 2013, later in the year showing in New York through Maison Gerard. So encouraged was he by its success that he opened his eponymous atelier in Mayfair last October – strengthening his international client base and demonstrating there is a healthy niche for design aimed at those with both an eye and a Black Card lifestyle.
What Salvagni is so brilliant at is taking fabulous, often noble materials – such as 24ct gold leaf, brass, solid oak, bronze and onyx – and then adding a touch of alchemy to make them exciting and relevant in the context of today’s super-luxury interiors. The Silk Gold cabinet (€135,000, second picture), for example, from the new winter collection – to be unveiled on Thursday January 21 – takes its inspiration from draped fabric, but is wrought from oak and 24ct gold. The mysteriously curved door of the Roma cabinet (€79,000, first picture) suggests a hidden opening and hints at the labyrinths of Rome. Indeed, Rome is a constant presence both in the design inspiration – for example, onyx Pillow sconces (€18,000), embellished with brass orbs, reference the ancient Roman tradition of presenting gems on pillows – and also in practical terms. For Achille Salvagni works with some of the most skilled artisans in Rome, many of whom have cut their teeth on restoring the ancient buildings and furnishings of the Vatican.
The finest materials imaginable are also sourced only from Italy, such as Volterra for onyx and the Central Apennines for oak. The centrepiece of this show is the monumental Pelide table (€120,000) in bronze, which is fittingly inspired by the Greek mythological character Achilles – as the son of Peleus, he was also named Pelide. Lighting (example in third picture) is another strong feature, including Pinocchio(€23,600), a burnished cast-bronze floor lamp with backlit onyx shade.
Each year, the Mayfair atelier will reveal four unique seasonal shows – a couturier approach that is in line with Salvagni’s ethos – so if you want to know what the world’s finest homes will be wearing this spring, allow me to give you the head’s up: think silver, taupe and gun-metal greys accented with burnished bronze, polished wood, scarlet lacquer and silk velvets in rich teal.