THE ALCHEMY OF THE AFRIDI GALLERY
Where different art forms are united by quality of design and mastery of execution
The Afridi Gallery was opened last year by Shahbaz Afridi, as a new space offering buyers the opportunity to acquire the best in carpets and twentieth-century design. A year on, the gallery on Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, displays a unique and elegant collection of furniture, carpets, lighting and art which have been sensitively staged in a series of evocative groups.
It is with this clear concept that Shahbaz Afridi founded the gallery, following several decades specialising in antique and modern Oriental and European carpets. “Over the years I have seen for myself how a carpet brings together a whole room. The idea behind the gallery is to reveal the unity that exists in the diversity between different works of art and craft.”
The Gallery is specifically designed to let objects speak for themselves, creating an intriguing dialogue between different art forms, united by quality of design and mastery of execution. A 150-year old Asian carpet might be arranged alongside a 1970s Italian vase or a piece of tribal art, allowing a harmony of shapes and colours that transcends origin, medium or moment. The team also hold regular exhibitions that allow artists and craftsmen to show their work within the context of the Afridi Gallery. This brings a new aesthetic to the space it shares, casting the collection in a different light and generating more meaningful connections between the objects. This subtle play between context and content reimagines our contemporary notions of the gallery space as an indifferent ‘white cube’ into an active and imaginative site for infinite interpretation.
Many of the designers chosen by Shahbaz and his team have a background in architecture: Danish designers Verner Panton and Poul Henningsen, Italian designer Carlo Mollino, Dutch designer Louis Kalff and Finnish designer Alvar Aalto are just some of the gallery's favourites. Among contemporary designers, he has a close working relationship with Chester Jones and his wife, carpet designer, Sandy Jones and the gallery regularly shows furniture and carpets from both of them.
Chester Jones says: “I really appreciate having the opportunity of working with Shahbaz Afridi and his gallery because it represents one of the very few circumstances in which fine quality objects and furniture are displayed with equal emphasis. I find the Afridi Gallery is open to a wider range of textiles, objects and furniture all carefully chosen, which is rarely found in the world of decorative and applied arts.”
Afridi 76 Royal Hospital Road London SW3 4HN www.shahbazafridi.com
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