At last year’s Frieze Masters there was an incredible art installation, called The Collector. The installation was laid out as a lived-in apartment, similar to the mini-house sets we try to create at Maison Objet and the other trade shows. It was barely there for a week, but the amount of detail was incredible. Let me conjure up the picture for you – a musty Parisian apartment in the 60’s, all mid-century furniture, inky typewriters, black and white Bardot films on the television, towering stacks of Le Monde papers and arty French mags, vinyl playing, dirty ashtrays, personal clutter. All surrounding an impeccable art collection, of course!
You get a perfect snapshot of the eccentric, art-loving writer who might have lived in this apartment. All the best set design and coolest interiors always give you a strong sense of personality – you should feel as though you know so much about the person living there just by poking round the room. In the show notes, the collector was described as: “Our Collector is a complex character with a completely unique personality. A passionate, brilliant, eccentric and humble man. Living in post-war Milan and then Paris, he is passionate, intellectual and reclusive. He’s not living to entertain people here, he lives and breathes art.”
I loved the feel of faded glamour and the references that were used to pull the interiors together. Think 60’s revolutionaries, La Dolce Vita, mid-century Milan and Paris and Hitchcock films all in a glorious jumble! It was like a completely immersive time warp experience.The story doesn’t end there though, because The Collector was spotted by Erdem Moralioglu, and became the starting inspiration for his whole AW15 fashion collection. Even if you’re not into fashion so much, it’s always worth checking the Erdem set – he went for a whole wall of hothouse jungle type greenery for his last show, which is obviously right up my street! This time he tipped it upside down, and started with the set, recreating the Collector apartment for the show, and then building a character and the clothes of the collection from there. The results were totally incredible.
From fictional character, to temporary art installation to covetable fashion collection – the journey of this apartment is inspiring! And the man behind it all is the genius set designer Robin Brown, who we just happen to have nabbed for an interview.