From the ashes: Achille Salvagni’s new furniture exhibition evokes the lost city of Pompeii

Installation view of ‘Pompeii’ at Achille Salvagni Atelier. 
Installation view of ‘Pompeii’ at Achille Salvagni Atelier. Courtesy of Achille Salvagni Atelier
(Image credit: Paolo Petrignani. )

Renowned for drawing upon the different histories of Rome within his work, architect and designer Achille Salvagni has found inspiration a little further afield for his latest furniture exhibition.

‘When you arrive in Pompeii, you are struck by the colours of the walls, mosaics and frescoes,’ says Rome-born Salvagni, recalling his visits to the archaeological site. ‘Even in their muted tones, they are beautiful and always remind me of spring.’ So taken was Salvagni by Pompeii’s faded palette of pale greens, earthy reds, burned oranges, blushes and blues, that he used it as the basis for a new themed exhibition which is set to be unveiled at Salvagni’s Mayfair space this week.

In particular, Salvagni’s eye was caught by the fresco on the Tomb of the Diver. ‘The simplicity of line of the diving figure makes it so relevant even now,’ he says. ‘I wanted to harness this incredible history of the rest of Pompeii and see how it could serve as a point of reference for a contemporary interior.’

‘Diomede’ by Achille Salvagni

‘Diomede’ by Achille Salvagni

(Image credit: TBC)

Put together over a six month period, the assembly of furniture includes three new pieces alongside other updated designs from Salvagni’s existing collection of over 100 works. Each one is handmade by craftsmen in Rome who, before working on the Atelier’s fine furniture, were more accustomed to carrying out restoration work around the city. ‘I think the reason they [the craftsmen] enjoy this collaboration is the excitement about producing a contemporary work, but [also] using age-old artisanal methods,’ he muses.

New pieces include the ‘Gio Louro Faia’, a double door bar cabinet in lacewood with a polished and protected smooth brass top, inset gold handles and bronze legs. With its generous elongated seat upholstered in smooth velvet, the ‘Tato’ chaise joins Salvagni’s family of ‘ato’ armchairs, while other existing pieces, such as 'Bench', shown in an inviting grey astrakhan wool, have received Pompeii-inspired updates with new finishes, colours and fabrics. 

Taking centre stage, the sculptural console table made from a swooping curve of cast bronze topped with a slab of Rosso Levanto marble is a new addition that Salvagni is particularly proud of. ‘We had to source the exact marble for “Diomede” until I was happy that it was the perfect fit,’ he says of the design, which is an homage to a neo-classical painting of Villa Diomede in Pompeii. ‘The stone is laid so bare in this piece that I needed to love every vein in the block of marble.’

'Gio Louro Faia' double-door bar cabinet in lacewood, with bronze and 24ct gold detailing, 2017

'Gio Louro Faia' double-door bar cabinet in lacewood, with bronze and 24ct gold detailing, 2017

(Image credit: TBC)

'Gio Louro Faia', 2017

'Gio Louro Faia', 2017

(Image credit: TBC)

The assembly of furniture includes three new pieces alongside other updated designs from Salvagni’s existing collection of over 100 works. 

The assembly of furniture includes three new pieces alongside other updated designs from Salvagni’s existing collection of over 100 works.  Courtesy of Achille Salvagni Atelier

(Image credit: Paolo Petrignani)

Each design has been handmade by local craftsmen in Rome

Each design has been handmade by local craftsmen in Rome. Courtesy of Achille Salvagni Atelier

(Image credit: Paolo Petrignani)

Bench, 2017, with a European walnut structure and astrakham wool upholstery

Bench, 2017, with a European walnut structure and astrakham wool upholstery

(Image credit: TBC)

The bench features subtle cast bronze detailing

The bench features subtle cast bronze detailing

(Image credit: TBC)

Existing pieces have received Pompeii-inspired updates with new finishes, colours and fabrics.

Existing pieces have received Pompeii-inspired updates with new finishes, colours and fabrics. Courtesy of Achille Salvagni Atelier

(Image credit: Paolo Petrignani)

INFORMATION
’Pompeii’ is on view from 10 March – 5 July. For more information, visit the Archille Salvagni website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Achille Salvagni Atelier
12 Grafton Street
London W1S 4ER

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