Interior design and homewares are undergoing a boom to parallel the explosion in the art market. Karys Webber seeks out some of Europe’s coolest places to accessorise your living space
Objeto de Deseo. Barcelona
Objeto de Deseo, rather more of a gallery than a shop, stocks an eclectic mix of ornamental vintage and contemporary objects from both big name designers and anonymous artists around the world, most of which are exclusive to the store. Unusual items in glass, ceramic, wood, metal and clay range from the traditional looking to the exotic and often just utterly bizarre; a porcelain beaver skull complete with gold-coated teeth an example of the latter.
Via Garibaldi 12. Genoa
Via Garibaldi 12 is a family run emporium housed in a grand 16th century palazzo in central Genoa. Often mistaken for a museum, customers ascend the marble staircase to explore the eight impressive rooms, two of which have frescoed ceilings depicting scenes from the Punic Wars. Despite the building’s rich history, Via Garibaldi 12 displays an array of modern furniture and home accessories from the store’s own label, B Home Interiors, other established names and up-and-coming designers. The store, which recently celebrated its 10th birthday, has become a must visit for international industry professionals who attend the annual Salone del Mobile in nearby Milan.
Ben Pentreath. London
Architect and interior designer Ben Pentreath opened his modest shop nestled in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury in 2008 and, alongside store manager Bridie Hall, has crammed it with delectable treasures for the home sourced from all over the world. Claiming they only stock products they themselves like, their exquisite taste has ensured a shop full of new and antique items that you won’t find elsewhere. Standout pieces include glass plates by John Derian, linen tablecloths and tea towels by Les Toiles de Soleil and limited edition illustrations by Glynn Boyd-Hart.
Normann Copenhagen. Copenhagen
Wander around Norman Copenhagen’s vast flagship store, once home to a theatre, and the most mundane household item seems like a work of art. The 1700 square metre space is filled with quirky products that challenge traditional design; tilted cognac glasses that gently rotate around a point and twisted ‘swing’ vases (each one unique) in which it would be impossible to put flowers in, are just a couple of the unusual items you can pick up from here.
Moooi’s flagship store in Amsterdam is a weird and wonderful space full of innovative furniture, lighting and home accessories arranged in Dali-esque displays. Alongside the store’s own range, designed by co-founder Marcel Wanders, and other established designers such as Jasper Morrison and Ross Lovegrove, Moooi is credited with giving up and coming designers their big break. Relative unknowns Front were catapulted into the limelight when Moooi stocked their somewhat surreal matt black lamp in the form of a life size horse.
Il Valore Aggiunto. Milan
Set back from the street, the treasure trove that is Il Valore Aggiunto, project of sisters Elena and Patrizia Sterzi, is not easy to find but is well worth the effort. A loft space that opens out into a picturesque courtyard; the duo have amassed a vast selection of decorative furniture, frames, mirrors and chandeliers with elaborate Italian flair plus period pieces ranging from the 1700s to the 1970s.
This unusual boutique in a residential neighbourhood in Antwerp houses founders Ilse Cornelissens and Tim Van Geloven in the top floor of their stately renovated row house whilst the remaining three floors they have thrown open to the public. The result is an intimate and warm shopping experience filled with a carefullly selected range of home accessories and fashion from cutting edge designers. The location also boasts an exhibition space, restaurant and outdoor terrace café where shoppers can relax with a glass of champagne.
Mint, based in central London, is an interior designer’s dream. Avant-garde furniture and home accessories are hand picked by owner Lina Kanafani, who champions emerging talent, often commissioning design graduates for one-off and limited edition pieces for the store, which is laid out in the context of a real living space. Hand crafted ‘bark bowls’ carved from reclaimed trees which are dried for a number of months before applying a bright lacquered interior, are just one of Mint’s unique offerings.
For effortless style and the best of contemporary Danish design look no further than Hay on Copenhagen’s bustling Østergade. Clean lines and bold colours make up the desirable furniture from the likes of Louise Campbell and Jakob Wagner plus a fantastic selection of rugs range from the fun, multi-coloured ‘Pinocchio’ rug to some well chosen vintage boucherouites. Chic stationery sets and beautiful children’s toys are also on offer.
Svenskt Tenn. Stockholm
Established in 1924, Svenskt Tenn has a long history but a recent refurbishment has seen the store almost doubled in size and given a new lease of life. The perfect place to see the newest trends in iconic Scandinivian design, the store has an array of colourful and contemporary pieces plus an extensive fabric and textiles selection. The newly revamped store even has a charming tearoom offering a selection of teas specially customised for the store and served in teacups by Florentine porcelain maker Ginori.