Chic chairs from R & A Augousti

Husband and wife team, Ria and Yiouri Augousti, are masters of creating beautiful furniture using unconventional materials.

Their dream of building a collection of furniture and home accessories began thirty years ago and was inspired by various cultures, arts and architecture encountered on their extensive travels.

Now, with showrooms in Paris’ fashionable 7th Arrondissement and – more recently – in New York City, they are a truly successful team with a furniture range sought after by many high profile clients.

This large, box shaped pair of armchairs epitomises how they create simple designs that look wonderfully contemporary but can be successfully combined with many different styles of decor and will really stand the test of time.

The frame – on tubular steel supports – is covered in squares of parchment and perfectly complements the white leather of the cushions giving an overall effect of understated chic.

The high level of craftsmanship and superior materials used to construct these chairs is clearly evident upon inspection and – as would be expected from R & A Augousti – they are supremely comfortable.

Aldo Tura. Designer, craftsman and artist

Aldo Tura has always been one of our favourite Italian designers so we are really pleased to have another of his distinctive and unmistakable pieces to showcase today.

Aldo Tura started designing and manufacturing furniture in the 1930’s and was a true innovator of his time. His outstanding skill as a craftsman and artist meant that he was always open to new ideas, experimenting with bold colours and a wide range of materials such as eggshell, leather, parchment and wood veneering.

Although his ambition was to create furniture that broke the restraints of tradition, he favoured tradition where techniques were concerned and constantly produced pieces of superior quality in limited numbers making each one highly collectable.

The cocktail cabinet pictured here is a testament, not only to his impeccable workmanship, but also to the sense of fun and idiosyncratic edge apparent in so much of his work.

In Rosewood, brass and lacquered parchment, it features two large wheels at the base and a smaller wheel serving as a handle for a front opening door that houses a mirrored chamber. There is a bank of drawers to one side, a single door cabinet to the other and a brass gallery on top that is also a removable drinks tray.

The front panels depict scenes from ‘The Wedding Dance’ and ‘The Peasant’s Wedding’ by 16th century Flemish artist, Perter Bruegel and, for that final, wonderful touch there is a wind up musical mechanism that plays a tune on the door opening.

Aldo Tura wanted to make people smile with his designs and he has certainly succeeded with this one. You can view it in our products by clicking this link.

Circa Revamped

Our Circa showroom has recently been revamped – fresh and new, but keeping to our usual grey and gold theme – and we are showcasing some interesting recent acquisitions alongside those already in our inventory.

The large Italian curved sofa, reupholstered in red velvet, along with the salon of Paola Buffa lounge furniture provide the perfect centrepiece to demonstrate how lighting, tables and seating could look when put together in a home environment, and to show how a diverse mix of styles can be such an inspiration for interior design ideas.

The lighting on show ranges from a colourful and quirky Italian ‘Triennale’ floor lamp to a pair of elegant Cristal Arte chandeliers that make for a wonderful complement to the large brass framed 1960’s Italian mirror; a very stylish piece with an inset faceted geometric design in gold and ruby. We have hung it landscape to fit with our decor but it looks equally appealing hung portrait or floor standing as in the picture on our website.

A range of cocktail, coffee and side tables – including a sleek, octagonal Romeo Rega design – are on display, and the dark stained oak flooring has been provided by our sister company, Marmorea.

We think it has a certain panache, but don’t take our word for it, come along and take a look for yourself.

We would love to see you!

And keep your eyes on the Marmorea site for an upcoming blog about our superior quality, Dutch wood flooring.

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Celebrate in style

With the festive season approaching, we know that many of you will be preparing your homes for an influx of guests so we thought it would be nice to share a few interesting items that may spark some conversation when sitting by the fire with a well earned glass of something; possibly served on a table such as this unusual gueridon.

Although ‘gueridon’ has become a generic term for any small, usually circular, table supported by one or more columns, the early gueridons – which originated in France towards the middle of the 17th century – were characterised by sculptural human, animal or mythological figures acting as supports.

The one we have here is a Neoclassical design in the manner of Jansen, and features brass rams head supports and brass hoof feet. A beautifully detailed and very interesting 1960’s table.

Be ready to pass around the sweets with this attractive bon bon dish by Aldo Tura. Again 1960’s, the dish reflects Tura’s use of flowing lines and free shapes and has two brass rods intertwined at the middle to create a stylish handle.

Lastly, a distinctive rosewood, Italian cocktail cabinet.

The doors to the cabinet feature an Egyptian scene painted in pastels and the mirrored interior has three drawers. The bowed, reeded front supported on tapering legs with brass feet add the final touch to this charming 1950’s dry bar.

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Stylish Pimlico Apartment.

Circa is delighted to announce a recent collaboration with Empire development as part of the refurbishment plan for this stylish Pimlico flat which is to be sold as furnished.

It was fantastic to be involved in creating such a stunning living space incorporating the eclectic mix of styles that is such a big part of our ethos at Circa, and we look forward to updating you with more images soon.

For now though, let’s start in the living room where the classic 1950’s Italian armchairs – reupholstered in a sumptuous charcoal velvet – are a great complement for the more modern feel of the settee and an excellent choice of colour to go with the pale walls and flooring.

The 1970’s two tiered Lucite and Nickel coffee table – featured in one of our recent blogs and now part of this chic room – is a really great addition to a light and airy space such as this. The clean lines and contemporary edge create a centrepiece that makes a statement without dominating, and epitomises the kind of French elegance that can have a quiet but very powerful impact on interior design.

Moving on to the bedroom we have a pair of sculptural wall lights by Poliarte, Italy. Poliarte are known for their innovative and unique designs and these 1960’s wall lights bear testament to that. Crafted from clear and amber glass pieces they cast a soft glow on to the blue wall and flank the central piece of artwork to great effect.

Watch this space for more news.

Pimlico installation

Marmorea Kensington Showroom Opens

We are thrilled to announce the opening of Marmorea Kensington – our sister company’s new showroom – displaying beautiful wood flooring, elegant chimneypieces and featuring select and newly aquired pieces from the Circa catalogue.

The showroom is arranged in the manner of a salon gallery to demonstrate how furnishings, lighting and art may work in different settings, and to exhibit how effective a combination of different styles can be.

Antique mirrors and chandeliers sit alongside 50’s furniture and quirky Italian lighting, with artwork by Julian Brooker and photography by renowned film photoghrapher Jack English; both of whom will accept commissions.

In all our showrooms we are dedicated to giving unbeatable customer service and it is our pleasure to be on hand to offer help and advice, so why don’t you pop in and say hello. We would love to see you.

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Turn the Tables

Today we have two large coffee tables to share with you, the first of which is this fantastic marble ‘jumbo table’ – designed for Knoll by Gae Aulanti – one of the few women designers in postwar Italy and creator of many elegant pieces.

It is not surprising that Gae Aulanti would design an imposing piece such as this, as she was responsible for several large scale museum projects – including Musee d’Orsay in Paris – and also had some background in industrial design.

The choice of Rosa Aurora – a Portuguese marble with a delicate pink colour – gives a soft edge to the design and, along with the cluster legs, combines a graceful elegance with a sense of serene strength, while the beautiful markings on the marble – going from pale to darker pink with green and grey hues – make this table truly individual.

Gae Aulanti has been recorded as saying that the focus of a room should be the occupants – not the furniture – but in creating such beautifully classic designs as this, she goes some way to making that a singularly difficult task. You can view the table by clicking this link.

Our second piece (below) – a 110cm square two tiered Lucite and Nickel table – is very cool indeed. With clean lines and a contemporary design it epitomises the kind of French chic that would create a stunning centrepiece to complement, rather than dominate, a room.

Great example of 1970’s modern furniture. You can view the table by clicking this link.

Large Lucite Coffee Table

Craftsmanship to be proud of

This superb 1950’s cabinet is an exercise in outstanding craftsmanship. Each individual part has been constructed to the highest possible standard, using only the finest materials available and the time honoured techniques necessary to build such a fine example of mid-century cabinetry.

Attributed to Italian award winning modernist designer, Osvaldo Borsani, the cabinet was imported from Italy and gently restored to its original condition in the UK.

Crafted in Rosewood and featuring two cabinets on either side of a bank of drawers, it has a serpentine shaped front with a top and bottom shelf and a blond wood interior. The modern marquetry work – of stars and lines – shows great attention to detail, with the interior of the cabinet keeping to the celestial theme by featuring stars and moons on the glass. There is also a reverse painted bottom shelf in red glass to match the reverse painted glass top shelf on the outside of the cabinet.

The whole structure is supported on brass sabot feet, matching the brass handles on the bank of drawers.

One of the most interesting aspects of this cabinet is that, although very substantial, the carvings and serpentine front – together with the high gloss of the wood – allow it the elegance of a far less imposing piece and, as such, it could be successfully placed in a variety of different surroundings and combined with antique or modern furniture to equal effect.

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A rare and unique table.

At Circa we constantly strive to source the unusual and when we find a piece such as this rare and unique leaping jaguar table from France, circa 1970’s, we just have to share it.

The jaguar leaps from a bronze tree with Verdigris finish and Ormolu leaf decoration, supported on a Nero Marquina base with an easily replaceable shaped glass top. All the materials used have been carefully chosen and each individual part crafted to the highest possible standard.

The Nero Marquinq used for the base is a fine-grained, black marble, originating from Spain and chosen for the white veining and occasional clouding characteristic in this material, while the bronze tree is particularly effective with the verdigris finish; a natural occurrence in copper, brass or bronze surfaces exposed to the atmosphere for long periods of time.

The ormolu leaf decoration – ormolu originating form the French ‘moulu’ meaning ‘powdered gold’ – adds a beautifully delicate feel to the tree and is achieved through a specialised process known as ‘fire gilding’ where mercury is driven off a kiln leaving behind a gold coloured veneer known in England as ‘gilt bronze’ and, in France, as ‘bronze dore’.

Now we get to the jaguar. In cast brass with gold lacquer, he leaps from the branch –  his back paws the only place of support – creating a real sense of animation and strength.

The defined muscle structure and refined features of the jaguar coupled with the superb quality of all the components make this a very special piece indeed. See it on our product pages by clicking here.

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Everyone loves a new coat!

Reupholstery is a wonderful way of breathing new life into furniture that is structurally sound but with some cosmetic wear.

At Circa, keeping close to the original design of our pieces is of paramount importance to us, and our skilled master upholsterer uses time honoured traditional methods to ensure this. We do however, add a touch of our own style with choice of colour and fabric.

For example, above is a sofa and matching chairs purchased at an Italian antiques fair and reupholstered by us in the UK. We chose a luxurious mink velvet to go with the elegant design but we did not have very long to admire the end product as all three pieces were soon to be housed in the West end office reception pictured above.

With the chairs below we took a slightly less conventional approach to colour by using a pistachio velvet which we felt really complemented the slightly more quirky design and black steel supports.

It is really exciting for us to give these fantastically well crafted pieces a new lease of life and will keep you up to date with more as they come in.

Watch this space.

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