Take one spectacular cliffside villa with panoramic ocean views, add 13 of the world’s most exciting design galleries and combine with a dash of sunshine – Giorgio Pace and Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte think they may have stumbled upon a foolproof formula for a new breed of collectable design fair. 

‘With our combined experience in curating art and design projects, we felt there could be another way to experience collectable design,’ says Pace of the new venture, which is his first joint venture with  Bellavance-Lecompte. ‘Revisiting the format of traditional fairs, we wanted to create an event that would offer an intimate and engaging environment for visitors and collectors each year. The result is Nomad.’

Taking place at La Vigie, the oldest villa in Monaco, Nomad is an exclusive design event for collectors, interior designers, architects and art professionals that made its debut last weekend. Its inaugural edition saw 13 galleries and four special projects each take a room in the 1902 villa, which they used to display their latest pieces – Louise Alexander Gallery placed a series of Arik Levy sculptures across the terrace; Christophe Graber’s ornate Cuff bracelet occupied a bathroom; while Pia Maria Raeder’s intriguing ‘Sea Anemones’ family lurked in a top floor bedroom curated by Paris’ Galerie BSL.

‘Hammered’ table by Sigve Knutson for Carwan Gallery. Courtesy of Carwan Gallery

Open to the public for the first time in 100 years, the fair’s spectacular setting is certainly a draw in its own terms.

‘It’s a completely different environment, which makes for a different energy – for us and the visitors,’ enthused Nina Yashar of Gallery Nilufar, whose blue-hued showcase, inspired by the Mediterranean sea, was displayed across La Vigie’s Salons. ‘It’s much more relaxed than a booth at a fair. It’s like being in a home. I think this is the next direction in terms of showing pieces. I love this formula, for me it’s the best.'

As well as established names such as Beirut’s Carwan Gallery, and London-based David Gill Gallery, Pace and Bellavance-Lecompte also took care to include up and coming depots such as London newcomers SEEDS, and three-year-old Brussels gallery Maniera. ‘Nomad provides a way to see interesting architecture like this at the same time as the art,’ said Maniera co-founder Kwinten Lavigne. ‘It’s very connected to what we have been doing, as we’ve not only showcased products in our own living room before but also in interesting buildings in and around Brussels.’

'Ziggurat' Tower by Oeuffice for Carwan Gallery. Courtesy of Carwan Gallery

During the four-day event, a VIP programme of talks, performances and events ran alongside the showcase, including an installation of Rick Owen’s furniture at Monte Carlo Beach Club, and a tour of the nearby Cap Moderne & Cabanon Le Corbusier and Villa E-1027.

Timed to coincide with a number of art events including Art Monte Carlo Fair and new exhibitions opening at the Nouveau Museé National de Monaco, Nomad will be back next year, say its organisers, and will also travel to another location.

‘The feedback we received from day one exceeded our expectations, with significant sales within hours after the opening last Thursday,’ says Pace. ‘Many of the participating galleries have already asked us if they can sign up for the next edition. We’re incredibly proud the works were presented in a context that allowed them to shine and everyone had a wonderful time thanks to the dreamy, calm environment of La Vigie – it was more like a four-day tea party in a house.’

RELATED TOPICS: ARIK LEVY, NILUFAR, GLOBAL FAIR GUIDE 2017