Italian Craft, British Style

James MacDonald

A tony boutique holds the handmade treasures of Achille Salvagni. 

Achille Salvagni opened his first gallery in the heart of London’s Mayfair in October. The Rome-based architect turned designer started producing limited-edition furniture under his own name just three years ago (sold at Maison Gerard, in New York), having designed numerous bespoke pieces for his yacht and residential projects. With his profile on the rise, Salvagni realized he needed somewhere to display his works. The space has been designed like an old-fashioned parlor: “like a house on a road where people can stay for a cup of tea to discuss beauty,” explains Salvagni. Highlights include an onyx, bronze, and marble table lamp called Bubbles that Salvagni designed for Jeff Koons; a cabinet inspired by the lover of Emperor Hadrian (even the screws are handcrafted); plus silk rugs and objets d’art, too. Everything is made in Italy using age-old know-how: Salvagni is an expert in melding together styles and skills from different eras to create perfectly balanced contemporary design. “I create pieces in the old manner with a new perspective,” he says of his approach.

There are plans to redesign the gallery every few months, and the salon-style space will soon be reimagined as a dining room. So, why London? “Rome is the best place to create, and London is the best place to sell at the moment,” says Salvagni. “It is the best window to the world.” Achille Salvagni Atelier, 12 Grafton St.; 44-20/7409-0026;