Designer Achille Salvagni Debuts His Perfectly Tailored Atelier in London
The two-story space features handcrafted plaster walls, locally sourced wood floors, and a poetic assortment of sculptural furnishings and lighting
After more than a year, designer Achille Salvagni has finally opened his new London atelier. Located in the city’s posh Mayfair District—which is home to art spaces, shopping destination Saville Row, upscale hotels, and more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other neighborhood—the two-story gallery brings together the full breadth of Salvagni’s oeuvre under one roof.
“Historically, Mayfair is the heart of the London art scene and the location of our first gallery when we opened in 2015,” Salvagni tells Galerie. “This new space affords us the opportunity to expand our footprint within the area and establish long-term roots here.”
The space also allowed Salvagni to be his own client and build his vision from the ground up, transforming the location’s existing rough bricks, uneven concrete floors, and disjointed floor plan into a soothing cocoon for his latest furniture and lighting designs. “I knew that with a refined and simple approach that we could create a very sophisticated space that would hide all the sins of the building and highlight some of the original beautiful details, such as the circular and arched windows,” he says.
Inside, the architectural designer installed buttery herringbone wood floors, meticulously handcrafted plaster walls, and experimented with suspended ceilings and shapely moldings that conceal modern-day technologies, like digitally controlled spotlights. Windows framed in bronze lend a warm glow while serving as dynamic stage for pieces crafted from likeminded materials.
Linking the two levels is a wavelike staircase composed of blue South American marble, punctuated with whimsical details, including a small sculpture from Salvagni’s cousin and collaborator, Fabio Gnessi, and cast-bronze “coral” detail. “This new gallery has given me a chance to experiment with new techniques and styles that I am adopting into some of my latest projects,” he says. “It has also afforded an experimentation on my time and budget, which we can now confidently grow into the studio’s practice when working on client projects.”
The atelier’s separate floors allow for Salvagni to demonstrate different settings for his remarkable designs. On the street level, pieces like the sinuous new Alligator sofa are displayed in an unobstructed floor plan, while the lower floor creates cozy nooks for more intimate interactions with items and vignettes.
“On the street level we have this amazing high ceiling and a single large room that echoes the kind of volumes that some of our clients have in their own homes. This provides a great way for them to see the pieces as they can imagine them in their own residences,” says Salvagni. “The lower level is a more intimate environment with a much lower ceiling height, more akin to the yachts that we are used to working on. It has required some creative thinking in how best to create focal points in order to be able to display the pieces in smaller chamber-like spaces.”
An airiness to the atelier allows for visitors to view these new and existing furnishings in a gallery-esque setting, while at the same time demonstrating their functionality. Most prominent, an update of the designer’s iconic Spider chandelier has been rendered in blue-lacquered bronze and expanded to almost 12 feet in diameter.
Hidden sliding doors offer Salvagni ongoing opportunities to reimagine the space, which will hopefully welcome more guests post-pandemic. “Just because the space is now complete does not mean we stop creating. Every day I have new ideas, and the gallery space is a platform for those,” he says.
“My ambition has always been to work with the best, whether that is the craftsmen, our material choices, my team, and my clients. We set very high standards for ourselves, and when you enter the new gallery space you should get that sense. It’s an experience and an opportunity to cross a threshold where at least for a moment you can dream and imagine these pieces in your own life as well as the infinite possibilities we could create for you. The gallery gives a sense of wonder and aspiration and also affirms our position at the forefront of collectible design and contemporary architecture.”