By Katy B. Olson
Handblown Bohemian glass from Lasvit, handcrafted rugs from La Manufacture Cogolin, royalty-approved fabrics from iconic British house Gainsborough, and self-described “art that works” from Geoff Crook and Peter Jones of Crook & Jones will next week adorn Olympia’s Pillar Hall, a Central London venue—parts of which have been unseen for upwards of two decades—for the inaugural LuxuryMade, an innovative high-end decorative interiors fair. Craftsmen and designers, including Julia von Werz, Kevin Stamper and Sebastian Blakeley, will grace the space, which was designed by British interior design firm Maddux Creative.
The fair will span two ornate, Victorian spaces at the venue: Pillar Hall, an embellished banquet room with marble Corinthian columns, and Upper Pillar Hall, which in its distant past served as the United Kingdom’s first electric cinema. Both spaces are part of the Olympia site, opened in 1886 as the Prince’s Apartments, and will exhibit contemporary decorative and luxury furniture, fabrics and carpets, lighting and accessories over September 21 to 24, during the London Design Festival.
“By staging a beautifully produced and highly selective showcase of some of the best contemporary and decorative brands in a stunning central location, it responds to an expanding market in need of a new high-quality event and visitor experience,” explains LuxuryMade’s director, William Knight. “We have placed this ambitious show within the emerging powerhouse of design in West Kensington—alongside the new Design Museum and resurgent 100% Design.”
Alongside exhibitors Poltrona Frau, Cassina, Zimmer + Rohde, visitors will find London-based Studio 198, known for bespoke wallcoverings made from aluminum panels; innovative furniture-maker Kevin Stamper; Tree Couture, which produces and designs its sustainable pieces in a former Victorian dairy in London; Portugal-based upholstery firm Duistt; and emerging fabrics firm SoFarSoNear, which produces Italian-made textiles.
Scott Maddux, who founded Maddux Creative in 2011 with partner Jo leGleud, chats with EAL about his inspiration for this fresh fair:
What was it like designing a venue that hadn’t been seen in 20 years? Were there particular challenges?
Aside from the dust? The Upper Pillar Hall is the space that has never been used before for an exhibition. The peeling paint and dust gives it a “rough luxe” vibe, which we are aspiring to contrast against with the elements we have designed.
What was your driving vision behind the space?
Most trade exhibitions are set within exhibition halls, so are total blank canvases in which you can create any environment without constraint. The Pillar Halls are anything but this! We had to work closely with the existing color schemes of both halls to create a harmonious palette, which is distributed across all elements we are designing, and right through to the colors of the stands for the exhibitors. It is unusual to go into such a level of detail for an exhibition stand, but most of the exhibitors have understood and embraced the idea.
The historic features of the rooms have also informed our design elements, with motifs of arches and half arches reappearing everywhere from the exhibitor stands to the bars. The pieces we have designed, such as the Champagne bars, have a streamlined modernity as a juxtaposition to the historic features of the rooms.
What are some of the elements you’re using in your design?
We are super excited to be draping the entire Entrance Hall in a literal rainbow assortment of Gainsborough silks—I can’t wait to see it up! We have created some wonderful backdrops and covered our bar surfaces with some of the most cutting-edge luxury wallpaper brands, including Fromental, Calico, Kit Miles and Tatiana Tafur. And we are featuring some exciting furniture and accessories from Julia von Werz, Barn in the City, and Saffron Art. And all of this with a luxurious Stark carpet underfoot!
What void in the design world does LuxuryMade aim to address?
LuxuryMade is specifically addressing the luxury production market. I think the luxury sector has up to now been focused on collectibles, and while this is an important part of it, production pieces from many brands we already know, as well as many smaller artisanal brands, are reaching the same level of craftsmanship as these often limited-edition or vintage collectibles.
What are you most excited to see at the show?
There are so many beautiful pieces and products from all of our generous donors and exhibitors, it is impossible to choose. However, right now, I am most excited to see it all come together at the opening, as we are just about to begin the installation process!
Scribble Table by exhibitor Crook & Jones