Nestled in well-heeled Mayfair, jewellery designer Ara Vartanian’s recently opened Bruton Place boutique serves up a perfect slice of Brazil in London. Housed in a building that was once part of baron Maurice Saatchi’s home, the boutique is Vartanian’s first international foray.
Born in São Paolo to a family of jewellers, Vartanian originally pursued a career in finance before circling back to his calling in 2000. Known for his use of saturated gemstones – a nod to the vibrancy of his native Brazil – Vartanian has made his mark with inverted diamonds, double and three-finger rings, as well as his distinctive ‘hook’ earring design.
Vartanian enlisted longtime collaborator Estudio Tupi Architects to craft the store’s smouldering-dark interiors. ‘I want[ed] the store to follow the founding elements of the Brazilian showroom while introducing new aesthetics that follow London’s traditions,’ says the designer. ‘In other words, the space [is] a combination of the essence of the brand’s architecture with the concepts of creativity and beauty that London embodies.’
To wit, a béton brut-style, corrugated concrete wall dramatically leads into the boutique from the entrance. The six-tonne structure, made using a 1920s Brazilian construction technique, offers a bold architectural prelude to Vartanian’s fine jewels.
Inside, a haven of vintage and mid-century furniture awaits with pieces (all hand-selected by Vartanian himself) by the likes of José Zanine Caldas, Jorge Zalszupin and Sérgio Rodrigues plotted impeccably across the boutique. The showstopper is a spectacular table designed by Vartanian in collaboration with artist Hugo França. Together, the pair travelled to Bahia to source a 1000-year-old wood for the tabletop, while Vartanian devised the monolithic crystal leg.
The jeweller’s striking pieces are housed within delicate glass domes and cases, juxtaposed against a palette of rich woods and jet-black walls. Vartanian adds: ‘I wanted to align the architecture to one of the concepts behind the jewellery – that of “opposite elements”: the raw and the refined. A carved out concrete wall can be compared to an inverted diamond, it is rugged but designed with elegance.’