There is a unique duality of styles in the Palladian style mansion at 14 Cavendish Square, where Swedish furniture gallery Modernity’s London showroom is located. One of two mansions built in 1770 on both sides of Dean’s Mews in Mayfair, the five-story building reflects its dramatic proportions and classical traits on its Portland stone façade. However, what inspired the gallery to join forces with the city’s other design powerhouse Adrian Sassoon was its transformation to a Modernist architecture on its backside, which was rebuilt in 1950s following a World War II bombing. “The historically-charged interior with elaborate features suddenly changes into a minimalist environment with many curatorial opportunities,” says Modernity’s director Andrew Duncanson to Interior Design.
Adrian Sassoon at the London House of Modernity is an exhibition of art, design and furniture, which has blossomed from both galleries’ fascination for the house’s particular interior. Their familiarity with each others’ programs dates back to pre-pandemic times when both galleries showed at the same design fairs multiple times. “Best of both worlds,” says Adrian Sassoon’s director Mark Piolet about collaborating with their colleagues at a time when fair concept is far from possible and need for alternative forms of presenting design is most felt. The building’s lived nature has been an unparalleled advantage to curate what Piolet calls “vignettes” that reenact pockets of domestic settings within the house’s soaring interiors. “Fairs present highly finished and muted backdrops for design, but these objects are meant to exist within personalized environments,” he adds. In this regard, two galleries have concocted juxtapositions that reflect their particular characteristics in design and furniture, with delightful cross-overs of forms and colors.
For Piolet, who oversaw the curation of objects in groupings, the priority was to synthesize shapes and color palettes to create “part home and part gallery settings.” This lacquered steel, brass and leather floor lamp was designed by Finnish designer and architect Alvar Aalto for the house of French art collector, Lois Carré. This A809 model, which was made by the lamp’s original manufacturer, Valaistutsyö, is here joined by Kate Malone’s crystalline-glazed stoneware sculpture, A Monumental Atomic Magma Vase (2018) and Fernando Casasempere’s clay and Indian ink on felt painting, Salar de Atacama (2019).