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My personal style signifiers are fingerless gloves. Brora is my favourite brand for pattern and colour. I wear the long ones with a short-sleeved shirt. Scarves make me feel dynamic and glamorous. I’ll wear two and flick one in one direction and one in the other. From £59; brora.co.uk
The innovation I’d most like to get my hands on is the Light Phone 2, because digital addiction is a real problem for many, myself included, who need to be online a lot of the time and find it difficult to disconnect. So a smart, elegant phone with basic functionality that allows for some designated periods with reduced connectivity is a welcome prospect. The last version sold out and this one is due in the spring. thelightphone.com
And the thing I’m eyeing next is more Fornasetti furniture – one of the round tables with a radial architectural design. Piero Fornasetti has been such a huge influence on me; he created his own world and constantly enriched it. Architettonico table, £1,500; amara.com
A recent “find” is a place called Nakano Broadway, in an inner suburb of Tokyo. It’s a 1960s shopping centre that has been taken over by manga shops, toy shops, cosplay shops and weird kitsch antiques shops, as well as a café owned by the famous artist Takashi Murakami, who also has his offices and some gallery space there. 5 Chome-52 Nakano, Nakano-ku, 164-0001 (nbw.jp)
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Ristorante Maffei in Verona. It’s in a 17th-century palazzo in the main square and serves perfect Italian dishes inventively – tweaking tradition rather than following it. Piazza Erbe 38, 37121 Verona (ristorantemaffei.it)
The new discovery that I think will change the world is Blue Planet’s plan to capture carbon from the air and store it in building materials. It could mean that every building put up is heavily carbon negative and that by building we would be actively saving our atmosphere and ourselves. blueplanet-ltd.com
The design breakthrough that excites me most is 3D-printed ceramics at an architectural scale. Ceramics as architectural ornament is a tradition that can be traced all the way back to the ancient Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Now, new technologies are coming to bear that could allow the economical reintroduction of highly articulated, bespoke ornament into buildings in our cities. The technology is in its early stages, but already the experiments I have been involved with have produced promising results.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand – a whole city of evocative buildings and ruins. We went to a hotel where we had a room overlooking one of the canals, with an 800-year-old temple that was lit up at night on the other side. Sala Ayutthaya, 9/2 Moo 4, U-Thong Road, Pratu Chai, Phra Nakhon si Ayutthaya 13000 (salahospitality.com)
The best gift I’ve given recently was from Studio Arhoj, a Danish handmade ceramics company. It has these adorable Ghost toys with beautiful glazes and two little eyes. I got them for my nieces. From €18.50; arhoj.com
And the best one I’ve received recently was a pair of handmade glasses from Savile Row Eyewear, the company that makes glasses using machines from 1932. We sourced some leather that was bleached and dyed bright yellow, and they wrapped and sewed the leather around the rims of the glasses. I wear them on special occasions. From £1,500 for bespoke eyewear; savileroweyewear.co.uk
The last items of clothing I added to my wardrobe were Etro shirts. I buy only those that are bright, colourful and patterned. They’re often 100 per cent linen and are baggy and comfy. From £230; etro.com
My style icons are Ron Arad and Jean Paul Gaultier. I love their attitude – they believe in what they put on and it looks wild. Sometimes it looks awful, but it’s an awful you appreciate. My style is very schlumpy – messy, a bit tramp-like – and I always thought that was an aspect of Ron’s style. I used to work out of his studio and one time I was going to get a coffee and he saw me and said, “Adam you can’t dress like this – it is terrible.” I felt that was a badge of honour.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is A Japanese Mirror: Heroes and Villains of Japanese Culture by Ian Buruma. He lived in Japan in the 1970s and had interesting insights into the culture in the way only an outsider could have.
In my fridge you’ll always find fresh salmon roe; dulce de leche, which I eat with a spoon from the pot; avocados, because my dad’s from Argentina and he grew up in a part of the country where avocados just fall from the trees; my favourite hummus, Yarden; fresh cherry tomatoes from the local farmers’ market in Marylebone; and Comté cheese from La Fromagerie. La Fromagerie, 2-6 Moxon St, London W1 (lafromagerie.co.uk). Marylebone Farmers’ Market, Aybrook St, St Vincent St and Moxon St, London W1 (lfm.org.uk). Yarden, ocado.com.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a set of antique glasses I found in Torbay. They look a bit like Venini, so delicate and thin. I found them in an antiques shop called Pimlico, on a square in Palace Avenue next to the Paignton Conservative Club. All four were £10! 36 Palace Ave, Paignton, Devon
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Frank Auerbach, specifically his paintings of Primrose Hill. He is an artist on a lifelong search to feel a part of a place. He returns to the same places and has painted them again and again, as if he is excavating. My background is one of loss and multiple cultures, so it’s something that resonates with me.
The last music I bought was John Grant’s album Pale Green Ghosts. It’s brilliant. He’s one of those artists who manages to convey the vicissitudes of living in the world through pulsating, emotionally and intellectually charged art.
An indulgence I would never forgo is roast chicken. I have a habit that I got from my grandfather, a Jewish refugee who fled Munich in the second world war. He didn’t have much to eat and would tell us he spent the whole time dreaming of eating chicken. When he made it to Japan and had a normal life, his favourite thing was having a whole chicken to himself. He ate it boiled. To me, the ultimate luxury is to make myself a roast chicken. I stuff it with lemons, garlic, rosemary and thyme and roast it until the skin is crunchy. I use my fingers to get every last bit off the bone.
The innovator I admired most this year is Morag Myerscough. Her commitment to colour and pattern in space and architecture has been transformative for the UK design scene and has radically influenced how architects appreciate colour as a powerful design tool.
An object I’d never part with is a little 1920s bowl made by a company called Minghetti, the great majolica factory in Bologna. It sums up all the qualities I adore in Italian design: it’s hand-painted with an acanthus drawn with ease and elegance.
My favourite room in my house is my study. We moved to our current home, in a Nash terrace in Regent’s Park, this year, and my office is where I work and where I’m inspired. It’s got things that catch my eye, calm me down and inspire me – and books that I can always delve into and find endless things that I love.
On my to-do list for next year is to design and make at least two extremely beautiful chairs. I’m really interested in things that touch the human body at the greatest number of points possible.
The last thing I bought and loved was a piece I found in a Brussels antiques market – a huge faience centrepiece with giant mannerist baroque sea creatures forming the base and a big fan-shaped bowl. It sits on my mantelpiece surrounded by my collection of 18th-century porcelain. Galerie des Minimes, Rue des Minimes 23, Brussels 1000 (galeriedesminimes.com)
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Ginza in Tokyo. Torishige is a noisy, busy yakitori restaurant. Tokyo’s oldest coffee shop, Café de l’Ambre, is really atmospheric. I love stationery and Ginza has the best stationery shop in the world, Itoya. And there’s also a really old art-supply store, Gekkoso, that makes its own sketchbooks. I love visiting the Okuno Building, a former 1930s apartment complex of single-room flats that have been turned into galleries. Café de l’Ambre, 8 Chome-10-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 104-0061 (cafedelambre.com). Gekkoso, 8 Chome 7-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 104-0061 (+813-3572 5605). Itoya, 2 Chome-7-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 104-0061 (ito-ya.co.jp). Okuno Building, 1 Chome-9-8 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 104-0061. Torishige, 6 Chome-9-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 104-0061
The grooming staple I’m never without is Acqua di Parma Arancia di Capri. I am a huge fan of southern Italy and the movies of the 1960s – especially Le Mépris, a French/Italian movie with Brigitte Bardot by Jean-Luc Godard. It’s based in Capri and is the most erotic and voluptuous movie ever. All of that is conjured up for me in this scent. £68 for 75ml EDT; harrods.com
The people I rely on for wellbeing are a personal trainer called Vanessa Mayfield, who’s also a performer and lifts me up with her energy levels; and for massage and acupuncture, I go to a Japanese wellness centre in Marylebone called Chi Yu, where there’s an amazing woman called Mami. Chi Yu, 36 George St, London W1 (chi-yu.co.uk). Vanessa Mayfield, vanessamayfield.com
If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Rome. I did live there for a while and it’s the most brilliant fusion of every bit of western civilisation. In Rome, you see all the messiest, busiest, most cosmopolitan elements of 21st-century life. The Monti district is a gorgeous enclave of antiques shops and bookshops. If you want to discover young designers, go to Mercato Monti. A cool place for listening to poetry readings is Tuba Bazar café and bookshop. Moma is a restaurant that serves contemporary food using the most exquisite ingredients – so beautifully presented. My favourite café is L’Euclide in Parioli, on Piazza Euclide, facing the gigantic 1930s baroque church by Armando Brasini; it serves the best pastries in Rome. L’Euclide, Piazza Euclide 45, 00197 (+3906-4201 1798). Mercato Monti, Grand Hotel Palatino, Via Leonina 46, Rione Monti, 00184 (mercatomonti.com). Moma, Via di San Basilio 42, 00187 (ristorantemoma.it). Tuba Bazar, Via del Pigneto 39, 00176 (libreriatuba.it)
My design prediction for 2019 is that colour is coming back. There’s a simultaneous return to sensuousness. It’s part of a backlash against techno-centric design. People are just yearning for the end of the iPhone and the return of real things.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an antiques dealer. When I was at university, I sold antiques on eBay and at Bonhams and my house was always full of bubble wrap and boxes. I would specialise in mid-18th-century porcelain, 19th-century majolica and 20th-century Italian ceramics of the pre-Memphis era.
My favourite websites are Bonhams.com, for the porcelain sales – it’s a really well set up website for auction catalogues; and SkyscraperCity.com, a huge architecture forum and an absolutely brilliant place if you like following niche subject matters, such as, for instance, new architecture in Tajikistan.
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