It is HOT. With temperatures soaring into the 90’s and reaching a seven-year high, I’m pounding the pavements of London.
My energies ebb with every step. The air is a dead weight and I can literally feel exhaust fumes wafting through me; the underground is choked up, diversions from road works and building sites all conspire to suck the life force out of anything that is living and moving. Ok, so am being dramatic as is my want, but you get the idea. Bad timing on my part to be in town today. But there’s good reason; I have an appointment at 19 Greek Street, an intriguing new creative hub which has established itself in the heart of Soho.
I arrive at my destination and after buzzing the intercom, am invited inside. Cool air envelops me, bringing relief in a single hit. As my journey begins up and through to the top floor studio of this renovated Victorian townhouse, ‘cool‘ unfolds way beyond that of the air con; this place is all white spaces and iconic furniture pieces… from past and future.
When I arrive at the fourth-floor studio I am met by Marc Peridis. A native Canadian, he is the designer and creative director of 19 Greek Street, responsible for curating an eclectic mix of exhibitions along with a growing collection of its own commissioned pieces by established and up and coming designers.
The idea to launch 19 Greek Street came when Peridis was approached to develop and design a small hotel in central London. Finding the space while scouting for locations, and with the hotel project eventually falling through, he saw an opportunity to create London’s next design destination, filling it with “the most beautiful things we could find around the world” and turning it into a showcase for craft, excellence and design integrity.
Talking and walking me through the various exhibitions and displays, Peridis is passionate about what he is trying to achieve, where the theme to showcase socially responsible design holds more than an underlying edge. Montage, Peridis’ design practice occupying the top floor, shares the space alongside an exhibition for Supercyclers, an Australian collective of designers who seek to reuse waste materials in their work.
Furniture from a number of other international design studios vie for my attention. These include pieces made from reclaimed pallets by Nina Tolstrup’s Studiomama; woven plastic chairs produced by former prisoners in Colombia for fashion house Marni; cardboard furniture designed to be used after natural disasters by Parisian studio Nocc and US specialists Espasso showcases Brazilian design from the middle of the 20th century to the present day, including contemporary designers Arthur Casas and Carlos Motta.
Carlos Junqueira, founder of Espasso, said of the launch at 19 Greek Street: ‘We are excited to open a London showroom, which allows us the opportunity to show our collection to a broader audience, as well as more convenient access to the works of our designers for our existing clientele based abroad. Collaborating with 19 Greek Street is a natural fit for us, and we look forward to bringing the best of Brazilian design, past and present, to London.’
Hotter than hot, the uber-cool new kids on the design block, have arrived.