Interior designer Lucas Rufin opens a selling exhibition of 10 pieces

The newly-established interior designer is hosting an exhibition of 10 objects which demonstrate his style and eye: a way of launching himself into the world of interior design.
Caligula Supernova Interiors

In March 2020, Normandy-born Lucas Rufin moved to London to launch himself into a career as an interior designer. In France he had experience working as a costume designer for theatre and opera, a career which he believes shares many of the same qualities as interior design: 'in both you need to develop an intimate relationship with whoever you’re designing for, there needs to be a clear dialogue between you and your client'. Seeking guidance from some of the most established names in the industry, he went to see the late Robert Kime, who gave him some invaluable advice. 'Host an exhibition of ten objects which show what you can do', he said. 'It doesn’t matter if they sell or not, the point is to demonstrate your eye'. That was in October 2021, less than a year before Robert died. Lucas has since been collecting his ten objects, and today opens his exhibition in a pop up space in Fulham.

Caligula Supernova Interiors

'I am quite open minded about my style - I like some modern stuff, some classic and some traditional. To an extent my taste depends on my mood, as well as who I am buying for and what they want', he explains. Though often drawn to classical pieces from France belonging to the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, he is also drawn to the glamour of Art Deco and modern furniture. He calls on the work of photographer Slim Aarons, who ‘had the ability to be like a little mouse - to be there without being there - he really captured an atmosphere and it’s this that I’d like to emulate with my interior design practice’, says Lucas.

Through his new interior design studio, Caligula Supernova Interiors, Lucas already has a handful of projects - a recently completed flat in Holborn, a work-in-progress Chateau in Normandy and a cottage dating back to 1590 in Northumberland.

The ten objects are the result of hours, days and weeks spent at auction houses and sifting through thousands of lots. Though the original plan was to stick to art and decorative pieces, Lucas found himself adding in pieces of furniture to ultimately build a scheme for a room. The pieces are from an array of different places and periods. Amongst them are a pair of early 20th century Louis XVI style brass sconces for £200. Lucas found them in a sale of the contents of the judges lodgings of Leicester Castle - the contents of which was recently sold and the space is rumoured to be being turned into a hotel.

Caligula Supernova Interiors

A pair of settees upholstered in a rich chinoiserie silk are a particularly exciting addition. One belongs to the 18th century: it’s a style which became popular in Marie Antoinette’s France, though quickly fell out of fashion after the revolution, making originals very rare. The other is a (very good) 19th century copy made by Charles Mellier &Co. The two cost £15,000.

Careful not to focus on one style, Lucas is also delighted to have found a pair of 1960s Laura Ashley lamps, which he’s adorned with hand-marbled lampshades made by one of the few remaining marble paper artists in Normandy. ‘The nature of marbling is that every piece is unique, which I think makes them really special’, he says.

There’s a simple, rosewood Art Deco pedestal, for which Lucas has commissioned decorative painter (and one of the House & Garden Rising Stars of 2022) Magdalena Gordon to add a faux-malachite effect. ‘I wanted to add a little bit of glamour - decorative painting shows that mass produced furniture can be transformed into something more special’.

If the aim of the exhibition is to show that Lucas not only has a great eye but also a broad range, then he has very much succeeded. The selection of objects, furniture and artwork is quite thrilling: each has their own story. For a first foray into the world of interior design and antiques, Lucas seems to be establishing himself as one to watch.

The exhibition runs from June 2nd-12th, 69 New Kings Road, Fulham, SW6 4SQ.

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