Crossing the threshold of the first gallery that Apparatus has opened in London, at 7 Mount Street, Mayfair (the third after those in New York and Los Angeles), one is plunged into a refined and somewhat suspended in time world, where the sober, modernist elegance of the steps of Eltham Palace in South London and Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan meet the internationality mixed with the reservedness of English clubs.
In a historic red brick building from 1890, the 300 square metre space is divided over two floors and houses the complete collection of lighting, furniture, objects, designed in the New York headquarters and produced in the Brooklyn factory.
Co-founded in 2012 by Art Director Gabriel Hendifar, whose family moved from Iran to Los Angeles in the late 1970s, Apparatus has always taken an interdisciplinary approach to design that combines industrial production with handmade appeal. “I believe that the objects in our homes have the power to help us understand ourselves more clearly,” says Hendifar. “Design is an expression of who we are and what we value. It is about identity, connection and humanity.”
The entrance to the gallery has walls clad in patinated brass; the central hall, walls and floors are in light classical Calacatta marble with hand-worked plaster details in geometric patterns, columns and a decorative ceiling, also in relief plaster with bronze mirror finish.
An imposing staircase, entirely clad in burl panels and with a textural suede balustrade, leads to the lower floor: here is a generously shaped sofa where guests can delve into the studio’s library of materials, order and customise projects. On the walls are portraits of Shazdeh and Asfaneh, Gabriel Hendifar’s grandmother and mother respectively: “In many ways, the London gallery is conceived as a fantasy home for my grandmother,” says Hendifar. “It is through these Persian matriarchs that I developed my own understanding of gracious hospitality, and what it means to welcome people into a space.”
A place to express the studio’s potential, aesthetics and design signature, the new London gallery encompasses past and present, modernity, eclecticism of form and materials. Combining Persian heritage with contemporaneity.
All photos © Matthew Placek