THE MAYFAIR PIÈD- A- TERRE NINA YASHAR
SQUAT London is the latest project by the celebrated Milan-based gallerist Nina Yashar. Yashar – who founded the influential Nilufar Gallery in 1979 – partnered with interior and architectural design company Shalini Misra to create a decorative living space in South Audley Street, Mayfair. The Victorian apartment has been furnished with a combination of historic items, precious artworks and furniture from emerging contemporary designers. So seductive was the mix that it has now been sold! (nilufarsquat.com).
How does a gallerist’s eye help when it comes to decorating a home?
I began my career as an antique carpet specialist, so the carpet is usually my starting point for a project. For me, a room without carpet is a room without soul. In this apartment, the bronze ‘ West Lake’ dining table by Massimiliano Locatelli is arranged on a carpet with copper threads by the Colombian designer Hechizoo. What is your favourite piece in this space? The Giò Ponti chandelier (above). It came from Ponti’s iconic Parco dei Principi hotel in Sorrento. I love the fact that it was designed for an entirely different space and yet fits so well here. It’s a huge, challenging piece, yet somehow it draws everything together.
How do you make a space filled with gallery pieces look homely?
You have to adapt your choices according to the home you are working with. If the scale is wrong, there won’t be a sense of harmony or equilibrium. The SQUAT apartment is not huge, so I’ve chosen furniture accordingly. That’s not to say that you can’t play with scale: the oversized ceiling light by Patricia Urquiola (above left) creates a sense of drama in what is a relatively understated kitchen.
Do you have any tips for using gallery pieces in real homes?
You have to fall in love with something first and go from there. I usually start my projects with one piece and this informs my next steps. With this apartment it was all about the Giò Ponti chandelier, followed by the Osanna Visconti di Modrone coffee tables, the geometric carpet by Caturegli and Formica, and then the curved, 1950s Federico Munari sofa. You should play with objects that appear to have nothing in common: it adds an element of surprise.
Is what you have in your own home similar to what you have in your gallery?
In both spaces I have amazing carpets. In my own reception room I have a black and pale orange carpet by Danish designer Vibeke Klint. And, in my bedroom, a precious 18th-century Chinese carpet fills the entire floor. It makes the room.
Have you ever come across a piece that you loved, but was too challenging for everyday use?
You have to adapt the pieces you love to the footprint of your home. I dreamt of having Jeroen Verhoeven’s ‘Cinderella’ table in my home: it’s fantastic, but visually, it’s just too much.
LIVE-IN EXHIBITIONS CONTINUED...
‘Play with objects that have nothing in common: it adds an element of surprise’