London – Carl Fabergé’s Imperial eggs were a complex thing of shiny beauty. Encrusted with jewels on the outside, some of them bore little surprises on the inside, in the shape of golden animals inside a golden yolk – hey, those addicting Kinder eggs got their great idea from somewhere.
But we’d like to imagine that between the enamel and the golden hens, its inside wall looked something like the new premises of Wartski, a London antiques dealer specialised in the works of Fabergé himself – and, for royal fans, better known as the maker of Kate Middleton’s wedding ring.
Designed by local studio Waldo Works, the new gallery carefully weaves contemporary geometries with the lush material applications of yore. Their proposal, which plays with the symbiotic nature of the family-owned firm, has unsuspecting visitors enter a Neo-Classical shop front on St. James Street and step into an oak-and-concrete large-scale kaleidoscope.
The shop is divided into three areas: a front gallery, an arcade gallery and a concealed room for private consultations. These spaces embrace the visitors a tad tighter the deeper they moves within the space, as the facets and angles cut into the concrete walls become more complex – the concrete, by the way, contains chips of slate from the Cwt-y-Bugail quarries in North Wales, as a nod to the company’s Welsh origins. In turn, the angles on the ceiling and the beams ricochet from the geometry of the walls, which go inwards and outwards, creating a play of shadow and light that reaches its apex in the spots dedicated to the showcase of the precious objects.