two lives embracing the eclectic, the eccentric, and the esoteric
Monday, June 30, 2014
In the late nineteenth century painters, poets and philosophers gathered around tables in the coffee houses of Budapest creating the Café Society of which the city is understandably famous. Lively conversations of patronage, politics and Plato took place over slim cigarettes and strong espressos with the whiff of smoke and revolution in the air.
Now in twenty-first century Budapest, the 'Paris of the East' and 'Pearl of the Danube' is witnessing a new revival. As its buildings become stripped of decades of grime, revealing the Art Nouveau splendour beneath, as the fashion houses of Europe find new homes on the City's grand boulevards, and as the concert halls, Opera House, galleries, museums, theatres and Art cinemas offer a culture rich enough to attract the most discerning of international audiences, so the 'Champagne Society' is alive and buzzing in Budapest.
And nowhere is this more in evidence than at a fabulous party given recently in the devastatingly stylish drawing room of our friend and internationally renowned interior decorator, Richard Adams. Housed in a magnificent turn of the century building, with direct views to the Danube and iconic Liberation Statue, Richard's apartment breathes glamour and good taste from every room.
Throughout the apartment the classical and modern sit comfortably side by side. Furniture, fabrics and objets d'arts from a range of styles and eras are mixed and matched with effortless elegance. And just like the rooms he decorates, Richard is immaculately dressed, perfectly tailored and beautifully scented. Here is a cosmopolitan aesthete who is master of his art.
A twentieth century Rietveld chair is placed with a French eighteenth century lacquered, ormolu mounted bureau plat upon which a framed cast of family and friends is displayed. Gilt bronze candleholders, shaped as monkeys, are positioned playfully with Carrara marble lamps, fashioned as obelisks, mounted on the backs of gilded turtles. A chinoiserie cormandel marble topped commode acts as a drinks table from which, on party nights, copious quantities of champagne are generously poured.
Everywhere, looking glasses disorientate divinely, manipulating space and form to deceive and delight at every turn. Sumptuous sofas, plumped with cushions and leopard print throws, beckon one to sink into them. Armchairs open their arms invitingly wide to view the gallery worthy Martin C. Herbst sphere, sculpture by Amerigo Tot or the striking mural of Rubens 'Triumph of Church over Fury and Hate'. All around there is beauty and refinement, splendour without ostentation, impeccable taste, perfect proportion and a spare but undeniable voluptuousness.
The 'Champagne Society' gathers here. For this is a place where one can dress to kill, where one can be guaranteed the liveliest of conversation and where, on occasion, one's behaviour can be just that little bit naughty!