Achille Salvagni's Mayfair Atelier, which opened last year, will display the designer's newest pieces this summer, in an exhibition that takes inspiration from a duo of unlikely sources: art deco and the Qing dynasty.
Titled 'Cocktail Hour', the effervescent display marks a change of direction for the designer, who is known for his moody, opulently Roman aesthetic. Speaking to Wallpaper*, Salvagni explains the reasoning behind this colourful, lighthearted twist. 'I have always been fascinated by history,' he says. 'It has a fluid essence with no boundaries, so referring to different eras allows us to open our minds and complete our vision.'
Salvagni's diverse mood board, which could have so easily looked like a mesh of conflicting references, is balanced harmoniously. Clean lines and punchy shapes characterise his coffee tables, side-boards and cabinets, which scream 1930s Italy, while his palette (deep yellows, rusty pinks and duck-egg blues) reflect colours used in the Qing dynasty's ceremonial dress.
The two most immediately eye-catching pieces are also the designer's favourites. He's particularly pleased with the new, sunshine-yellow 'Tato' armchairs, titled after Guglielmo 'Tato' Sansoni, a prolific proponent of the futurist movement. Salvagni also names his magnificent 'Nerone' cocktail cabinet as a personal highpoint, which is crafted in parchment and lined in black Sahara Noir marble. The cabinet takes its name from iron-fisted Emperor Nero. The black marble references his 'dark soul', and his fatal ending (a stab-wound to the heart) is captured in the use of red lacquer on the central handle.
By naming his objects after prominent figures of history, Salvagni imbues each piece with its own narrative, driving depth and personality into the collection. With this, Salvagni takes his referencing seriously, and ensures accuracy with every corner, crease and colour. He explains, 'As beauty will never change, history will always anchor us to the past and help us look towards the future.' And the future continues to look beautiful for Salvagni, who reveals two new projects to look out for, including 'a townhouse in the heart of the Upper East Side and a villa at La Gorce Island in Miami Beach'. Whether these endeavours will be art deco themed, tinged with Qing dynasty colours, or inspired by a new era altogether, only time will tell.