Milan’s most flamboyant design dealer, Nina Yashar of Nilufar, expanded her empire in 2015 with Nilufar Depot, a sprawling 1,500-square-meter space that houses a treasure trove of exquisite design pieces from a stunning hybrid of antique, vintage and contemporary works.
Nilufar gallery gives life for many years on projects, issues, site-specific exhibitions and publications, working with both great masters with emerging authors.
A paradise for those who love design collectibles, with rare finds and stellar quality pieces — and prices to match.
The Depot houses a large part of her collection (over 3,000 pieces, amassed over 30 years) with giant chandeliers, long tables and rare vintage pieces displayed in room sets.
“ In the past decade interest in design has increased,” says Yashar. “ Before, nobody considered it an art form. Every piece has its own personality. From the start, eclecticism has been the key”.
Far enough out of the city to have the level of privacy that this gallery deserves, Nilufar Depot opened its doors once more to the masses of the Fuorisalone.
For the interior of the showroom, Massimiliano Locatelli of CLS Architetti created a design inspired by the Teatro alla Scala in Milan: imposing metallic structures, solid yet harmonious, accommodate the dignified irregularity of Nilufar’s aesthetic sense.
The large space in Viale Lancetti is divided into a series of boxes that represent the work of the most interesting names selected by the gallery owner Nina Yashar.
Inside the structures there are units in which small design scenes are arranged by Nina Yashar herself, and cutting-edge design finds its place alongside iconic pieces
” Last year it was all about the space, but this week it is much more about pieces,” says Yashar.
Carpets are her overriding passion and the most dominant presence gathered in a stunning composition in the nave that couples vintage specimens with three precious silk and wool tapestries dating from the mid-16th century, fluctuating in the air.
Carpets are still a focal point, and ancient kilims, Berber and Tibetan rugs sit side by side with contemporary versions, commissioned by Yashar.
India Mahdavi’s new Gardenia rugs (€28,000) featuring abstract floral motifs, and Fioritura Mimetica (€34,000 each) – two colour-popping creations from Hermès print designer Pierre Marie – highlight Yashar’s considerable expertise.
Nilufar also inaugurated its own atelier of contemporary rugs, with special pieces designed by textile greats Jorge Lizarazo ( hechizoo ) and Haynes Robinson.
Nina Yashar opened Nilufar Gallery in 1979, originally selling antique carpets.
On a trip to Sweden 15 years ago, she purchased some vintage Alvar Aalto pieces on a whim.
She then turned to her own backyard, which was brimming with Italian midcentury design, and cherry picked the best pieces from maestros such as Carlo Mollino, Gaetano Pesce, Ico Parisi, and Franco Albini.
These now make up 70 per cent of her collection.
Good timing, gut decisions, and a keen eye has kept her pulse on the zeitgeist ever since.
“My aesthetic sense coincides with my personality – it is in constant evolution,” says Yashar.
With her trademark turbans, platform sandals, Vietnamese aprons and silk duchesse coats, Yashar is one of the grandes dames of Milan’s style circles, mixing fashion in the same distinctive way that she does design.
Miuccia Prada, French interior designer Jacques Grange and art patron Maja Hoffman are all friends and clients.
“I do not have strict criteria. I often change direction when selecting the pieces for the gallery,” she says.
As well as proffering pedigree design at auction room prices, Yashar gambles on young designers she sees as future stars.
Her Midas touch ensures their fates are sealed: contemporary favourites Martino Gamper, Michael Anastassiades, Bethan Laura Wood and Lebanese duo David/Nicolas all have Yashar to thank for giving them a foot up.
Yashar, in exchange, sells some of their pieces exclusively.
Mirror Room by Architect Roberto Baciocchi.
The cadence of the boxes is broken by cubic architecture designed by Roberto Baciocchi–Baciocchi Associati containing the Mirror Room, a fine and elegant dining room the colour of which dictates the leitmotif of everything in the room, entered through a doorway with a brass finish.
The most spectacular room setting: a hall of mirrors that protects and reveals the new collection for the table made by Richard Ginori for Nilufar.
The Mirror Room featured Milanese artist Roberto Giulio Rida’s extravagant indigo blue ‘Mediterraneo’ cabinets.
Martino Gamper’s family of low tables and chairs that can be joined to form different configurations,
This year Nilufar Depot showcased a new collection of contemporary works and two rooms designed by architects Roberto Baciocchi (of Prada fame), CLS Architetti, and Claude Missir.
New Designer Releases
Constantly on the lookout for new talents that interpret her personal vision of contemporary design and with a 1,500 sqm space on three levels to renew, the Italian-Iranian collector and gallery owner has broadened her designer portfolio this year.
More than 20 new pieces were shown alongside the large collection of classic designs amassed over more than 30 years in the business.
The settings were arranged by ” mix and matching ” new contemporary pieces, vintage furnishings, the odd antique, Sicilian dressing tables and tapestries.
The gallery has allocated a special space to one of the youngest designers present, Federico Peri.
The pieces in his collection of living units revisit the world of industrial furniture – with which the designer has been in contact since childhood – and take on a new connotation via the use of finely crafted materials, becoming objects for display and use.
Frederico’s integrated ‘Biblioteca Itinerante’ seat with built-in shelves introduces a fresh take on industrial form.
” I am obsessed by his idea of building a house with all the same design pieces like Jean Prouvé. The unity of it is very beautiful “‘ says Yashar.
Fredericp’ collection on show included his Shapes pendant lighting, Scaffale d’arte shelves with lighting, Biblioteca Itinerante seat with shelving, Panchetta seat, Living in a chair relaxation/reading unit and Anello coffee table.
An industrial trolley on wheels becomes a seat, a warehouse shelf turns into a desk, a ladder becomes a bookcase and a mix of industrial objects form a mobile reading unit.
Precious brass, marble, velvet, leather and glass detailing enhances the collection, giving it a strongly conceptual connotation without neglecting function and references to 1950s’ design.
Another surprising piece is the Urmia table by Massimiliano Locatelli, produced with concrete and resin using an experimental technique inspired by the Persian lake it is named after, an example of constant evolution because its salty waters quickly evaporate so that it is constantly shrinking and making more space for dry land.
Yashar admits she is obsessed with Loctatelli’s new 3D printed table, created using a machine designed by a NASA engineer to build houses on the moon.
‘ This is what Salone should be. Not things you’ve already seen or that remind you of something from last year. It is about surprising people,‘ she said.
Lindsey Adelman presents a sophisticated selection of ceiling and floor lamps that are gilded globes of hand-blown glass suspended on brass structures, the Fungus mirrors and the Cherry Bomb Fungus mirror – although displayed in several places, they are at their finest alongside the Gio Ponti designs.
Other scenes at Nilufar
A Gallerists Eye for detail
The furniture pieces are meticulously arranged in cinematic scenes.
( images courtesy wallpaper* )
Viale Lancetti 34,