The Invisible Collection e-commerce brand has, until now, operated discreetly by stealth, selling its bespoke pieces by international designers mainly online. Supplemented by occasional installations and pop-ups in all the right places – Miami (who can forget Marc Ange’s Le Refuge daybed at Wallpaper* Handmade, Instagram hit of Milan 2017), London and Paris. This summer saw the launch of the brand’s first offline venture in London’s Belgravia. Its founders Anna Zaoui and Isabelle Dubern have set the trend in more ways than one; they have moved from virtual to physical rather than the other way round, and have eschewed a typical glass-fronted space in favour of a private apartment which, like its name, is invisible to those not in the know.
A period building in Chesham Place, it is more salon privé than showroom, and sofas, lights, consoles and mirrors which previously could only be seen online or via a studio visit, are carefully curated to make it feel like home. ‘Our clients are now able to see and feel the quality of what they are buying,’ says Zaoui, who notes that its presence has led to a spike in sales in London.
‘Bookshelf Element 1’ by Karen Chekerdjian, Metamorpose rug by Pierre Yovanovitch, and ‘Armchair Conversation’ by Vincent Darré
Highlights include Pierre Yovanovitch’s Armchair Assis(ast)metrie and the SKL021 coffee table by Louise Liljencranz, while Crystal Pendants by American designer Jeff Zimmerman were brought in for the showroom opening, thanks to a collaboration with New York Gallery R&Co (it’s the first time the e-commerce site has hooked up with a gallery).
The new showroom also provides a London platform for their (predominantly) French design stars. This October, to coincide with the PAD fair, young Monaco architects Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet make their debut with six pieces which went on show in an art deco smoking room that the pair created for AD Interieur in Paris in September. All are in homage to the late 1930s collector Marie-Laure de Noailles. ‘While they are quintessentially French, Emil and Humbert are based in Monaco and this, mixed with their Italian influences and love of precious materials, makes their furniture sexy,’ says Dubern. ‘We are excited to make it cohabit with a traditional English apartment.’
‘Armchair Dumbo’ by Hubert Le Gall
Also launching exclusively online this autumn is the Dragonfly Collection, a series of 17 limited edition pieces created by the resort hotel, La Domaine des Etangs. The historic chateau is located near Limoges and French designer Stephane Parmentier was hired to scout out local ceramicists, many of whom face extinction, and collaborate with them on the collection. Pieces include porcelain crockery with gold embellishments by Cyprien Chabert, ceramic stools adorned with an ancient rope embossing technique, a candle holder and a set of trays blown in antique stained glass by les Ateliers Saint Didier and a brass bookstand by Paris-based designer Raphael Navot, who has renovated La Domaine’s library. But that’s another story. (See Wallpaper* Nov issue).§