As the pandemic subsides across the world, we await with anticipation the return of friends and visitors – it has been rather lonely in central London. Nevertheless, despite many months of lockdown, exciting changes have taken place and I would like to share a few which I believe will be of interest and are to be enjoyed.
BROWNS have opened their new flagship store at 39 Brook Street, Mayfair. A Grade 2 Listed building built in 1720-3, which was remodelled in the neo-classical manner in 1821-3. In 1944 it became the premises for the British decorating firm Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler Ltd. In 1985 an apartment within the building was occupied by Nancy Lancaster, the renowned American-born interior designer. She and John Fowler designed what became known as the ‘yellow room’ having painted the walls of the large first floor reception room a bright gloss yellow. It became a most influential interior and has been featured in numerous magazines and books around the world.
Following an extensive restoration programme, it is lovely to see the many preserved original features and details, including the iconic yellow colour walls of the reception room which now displays womenswear – a further reason to visit.
Once you have exhausted yourself, you can enjoy some ethical dining in the new ground floor restaurant, Nature, or enjoy the tranquillity of The Courtyard.
McQUEENS FLOWERS and International Flower School have opened a new retail space and school at 29 North Audley Street, Mayfair. Established in 1991, the company has built an international reputation for wonderful floral creations, including providing the flowers for the Vanity Fair’s Oscar After Party for the last 25 years.
The interior of the retail space has been cleverly painted black, providing a striking contrast to the wonderful colours of the flowers on display. For anyone wishing to learn more about flowers and arranging them, the flower school with their talented and experienced tutors is the place to go. Lessons are held for small groups, or if preferred individual tuition is available.
THE CONNAUGHT PATISSERIE has opened on Mount Street, Mayfair. You enter through a stone portico flanked by tall fluted Ionic columns and pilasters into a predominantly pink interior. A clean, contemporary interior, which, rather like the delicacies of Executive Pastry Chef Nicolas Rouzaud, is perfectly elegant with just the right amount of sweetness.
THE WANDER ART TRAIL which spans across Mayfair and Belgravia, showcases outdoor art installations from twelve renowned artists. Among them are London based artists Morag Myerscough, Yinka Ilori and Fernando Laposse. By visiting each of the installations you will also benefit from many pleasant walks and exploring outdoor London.
One beneficial result of the pandemic, I cannot believe I am writing such a statement, but it is true, is the creation of many more outdoor spaces. None is more magical than SCOTT’S at 20 Mount Street. The large yellow blossom trees are lovely and are a good example of how artificial plants can look great when executed to a high standard. The trellis screen dividers and bay trees separate diners, providing privacy without closing you in. This is a good example on how a good design solution to a problem (keeping us safely apart) can result in an improved experience – what a lovely environment to enjoy a meal, the food is equally magical.
THE BERKELEY BEACH HUTS at the Berkeley on Wilton Place in Belgravia are a must to visit. The five huts with brightly painted shiplap cladding are designed to seat up to six people. The hut interiors continue the theme with life rings strapped to table bases, a blue and white colour palette, and soft furnishings with sea horse and star fish designs. The seafront has been brough to central London! For the early risers, why not try the ‘Seaside benedict’, smoked salmon and caviar flatbread – an ideal way to start your day.
I hope the above few examples of exciting places to visit in central London will encourage you to reacquaint yourselves with our wonderful, and I am happy to write, colourful city. Last, but not least, I would like to personally invite you to visit our gallery SOLLAND at 61 South Audley Street, Mayfair. I look forward to welcoming existing clients and friends, meeting new ones, and showing everyone what we at SOLLAND have designed and created over the past year – where our love for colour and excellence continues.