Let me en­ter­tain you

The young de­signer help­ing to cel­e­brate the Royal Academy’s 250th an­niver­sary

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - The Cut // House Style - Jes­sica Doyle

THE ROYAL ACADEMY has long had a rep­u­ta­tion for throw­ing a good party: its an­nual Sum­mer Ex­hi­bi­tion pre­view is one of the most glam­orous events in Lon­don’s so­cial cal­en­dar. And as the in­sti­tu­tion marks its 250th an­niver­sary, a new mer­chan­dise col­lec­tion, avail­able next month, will tap into its host­ing her­itage with a range of prod­ucts aimed at en­ter­tain­ing.

To pro­duce it, the Academy has col­lab­o­rated with Luke Ed­ward Hall, a young artist and de­signer with a clas­si­cal aes­thetic, who has taken the in­te­ri­ors world by storm over the past cou­ple of years. Hav­ing started out work­ing with the ar­chi­tect and de­signer Ben Pen­treath, Hall struck out on his own in 2015, and has since worked with com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Burberry and Christie’s, com­pleted pri­vate in­te­rior-de­sign projects and pro­duced his own range of prints, ceram­ics and fab­rics. And all by the age of 28.

Here, Hall was briefed to focus on the RA’S place in Lon­don so­ci­ety, and the per­son­al­i­ties who have fre­quented its par­ties and dining rooms. His re­search in­volved delv­ing into the Academy’s archives to ex­am­ine orig­i­nal event in­vi­ta­tions, din­ner menus, wine la­bels and other ephe­mera – some­thing of a dream for a self-con­fessed ty­pog­ra­phy nut.

‘I loved look­ing through the old menus in par­tic­u­lar,’ he says. ‘They were ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful – all th­ese del­i­cate lit­tle pieces of card; most were em­bossed, en­graved or edged in gold. They were just so won­der­fully el­e­gant. Plus, of course, the menus them­selves were fas­ci­nat­ing to read.’

The re­sult­ing il­lus­tra­tions, which rein­ter­pret mo­tifs in Hall’s play­ful style, have been ap­plied to bot­tles, ce­ramic table­ware pro­duced in Stafford­shire, nap­kins and glasses, can­dles and gold-em­bossed sta­tionery, along with host­ess gifts. His favourite prod­ucts from the col­lec­tion are, how­ever, the Coates & Seely sparkling wine and East Lon­don Liquor Com­pany gin, whose bot­tles are la­belled with his de­signs. ‘It’s been re­ally ex­cit­ing for me to work with such an iconic Lon­don in­sti­tu­tion that I’ve loved for many years as a vis­i­tor,’ he says of the RA. ‘And I must say, a gin with my own la­bel will be quite a fun thing to own.’ shop.roy­ala­cademy.org.uk

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