The Arts Club, London, marries Victorian eccentricity and Italian glamour thanks to revamp

The Arts Club, London, gets a modern revamp with a nod to styles of the past

A lounge in The Arts Club London
(Image credit: The Arts Club)

When Milanese designer Giuseppe Porcelli was commissioned to revamp the interiors of The Arts Club, London, he knew he wanted the space to be 'something seductive where people want to spend intimate time, all day long, relaxing, entertaining and being with people’. 

The Arts Club London interior with fireplace

(Image credit: The Arts Club)

The resulting revamp of the ground floor includes the new ‘Ofelia' members’ lounge, named in homage to Millais’ famous painting of the Shakespearean heroine, as well as the Brasserie, Bar and Condo Salon, where the club’s extensive George Condo collection is displayed. 'Warm browns and enamel tones dominate all of the spaces, alongside plush furnishings and cosy alcoves featuring a range of disparate patterns and textures – marble walls, cheetah-print pillows, jacquard wallpaper. The rooms are eclectic,’ says Porcelli, 'artisanal custom details, vintage pieces, sexy chinoiserie-inspired elements and furniture with a stronger club vocation are twisted with other elements that feel more off-kilter to create a language which is new for the space and feels contemporary.’ 

The Arts Club London. dark interior

(Image credit: The Arts Club)

The design was centred around the club’s verdant garden, where visitors can dine during the warmer months. Custom wallpaper depicting a forest of trees decorates the Condo room, while the walls behind the bar feature hand-painted wisteria that climbs up to the ceiling. 'I liked the idea of the garden coming in and the indoor space going out,’ continues Porcelli. ‘So I treated part of the garden as an interior, canopied and hung with paintings.’ 

The Arts Club London lounge interior

(Image credit: The Arts Club)

The first floor is another bastion of Victorian extravagance, but this time filtered through the lens of an English aristocrat journeying through the ruins of Italy. 'I love the idea of the Grand Tour, the journey of the English through Italy, which I found interesting as a starting point. So from there, the idea of the pillars and friezes from the classical architecture, but then mixed with more modern elements that surround me, like buildings in Milan, with a particular eye to entryways in the 1930s and 1940s style.’

Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.