Shop­ping

All shops are not made equal, some are es­sen­tial one-stop de­sign em­po­ri­ums. This month, we visit the fan­tas­tic Aram Store in Lon­don’s Covent Gar­den

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Elle Decoration - ARAM STORE

A dig­i­tal di­rec­tory of our favourite on­line shops and a tour of Aram Store, the first in our new se­ries of de­sign des­ti­na­tions

What’s the store’s his­tory? The Lon­don shop­ping scene re­ceived two strong shocks to the sys­tem in 1964: Habi­tat landed on Ful­ham Road; and a few months ear­lier, Aram Store opened on the King’s Road. The two shops served dif­fer­ent clien­tele, but both were rad­i­cal departures for Brits who’d grown up with wartime Util­ity fur­ni­ture and ‘ brown’ an­tiques. Zeev Aram’s white-box store stocked the work of Bauhaus icons and Mod­ernists like Mar­cel Breuer and Le Cor­bus­ier. De­trac­tors de­nounced it as ‘ hospi­tal fur­ni­ture’ and sent Aram hate mail. He was un­fazed. ‘The im­por­tant thing is that there was a re­ac­tion,’ he re­calls. ‘I was afraid peo­ple would just walk past.’ Now, we can see how rad­i­cally ahead of its time the store was. To­day, Aram Store oc­cu­pies an im­pres­sive four-floor space in Covent Gar­den. What brands will I find there? Pieces by Le Cor­bus­ier and Breuer are still present and cor­rect, man­u­fac­tured by Cassina, Vi­tra and Thonet; other big hit­ters in­clude Carl Hansen & Søn, Fritz Hansen, Flos, MDF Italia and Knoll In­ter­na­tional. You’ll also find a brand new 180-square-me­tre space ded­i­cated to Ital­ian bed brand Flou (above right), of which the store is the ex­clu­sive Lon­don stockist. Flou’s lux­u­ri­ous up­hol­stered beds in neu­tral hues – in­clud­ing the first-ever mod­ern up­hol­stered bed, Vico Mag­istretti’s ‘Nathalie’ de­sign (1978) – are a true in­sider se­cret. What’s its USP? Founder Zeev Aram’s aim is to pro­vide ‘ex­cel­lent ser­vice’ and ‘as wide a range as pos­si­ble’ of the best mod­ern de­sign. Not merely a store, it has also acted as a cham­pion of both new and es­tab­lished tal­ents, through ex­hi­bi­tions in its top-floor gallery space. Here, in 1981, Ja­panese icon Shiro Ku­ra­mata’s work was seen in Europe for the first time; a young Jasper Mor­ri­son got his big break in 1987 when his ‘Think­ing Man’s Chair’ was spot­ted by man­u­fac­turer Gi­ulio Cap­pellini at the shop’s 23rd an­niver­sary show. What makes it a must visit? Aram Store is the only place where you can buy au­then­tic reis­sues of the great Ir­ish Mod­ernist Eileen Gray’s de­signs (Zeev Aram cham­pi­oned the ne­glected de­signer’s work in the 1970s and now has the world li­cence to pro­duce and dis­trib­ute her fur­ni­ture). And if you’re not in the mar­ket for a big in­vest­ment, the store has an ex­cel­lent se­lec­tion of gifts and ac­ces­sories for the style con­scious. 110 Drury Lane, Lon­don WC2 (aram.co.uk)

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