This month our country creative series goes urban as we visit interiors shop Lair during their residency at the Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh.
Despite being one of the most beautifully designed cities in Europe, contemporary Edinburgh is reputedly un-interested in design. It’s presumed that the swankier addresses in town are furnished conservatively and there isn’t much call for modernism.
However Xanthe Weir, founder of Lair, a new interiors venture specialising in mid-20th century furniture, lighting and curios isn’t willing to accept this assumption. This June she brought the clean, pure lines of modernist design to the attention of Edinburgh’s great and good during a residency at New Town gallery Arusha.
Here she demonstrated successfully her aim to be more than just a shop but instead to inspire customers to visualize solutions for their own homes. Her artfully arranged room sets in Arusha are an explicit invitation to a more sophisticated life. Not as you might assume a more expensive one – but definitely one lived beyond mass-produced, high street furnishings.
For Xanthe, who moved to Edinburgh in 2013 following a successful career with some of the biggest names in fashion, such as Paul Smith, Lair represents the retail expression of her passion for collecting mid-century design classics. In the simplest terms when Xanthe’s home began to burst at the seams with Martin Visser and Marcel Bruer it was time to open a shop.
Her skill lies in recognising and sourcing good pieces that represent good design and craftsmanship and also in knowing how and where to restore them to their glory. Her collection is ever changing as pieces come and go, often shipped in from Italy, France and Denmark. Amongst the pieces currently on the books, but unlikely to hang around for long, are a pair of elegant Martin Visser armchairs upholstery in a soft monochrome check.
Xanthe’s eye for upholstery is restrained and tasteful, nothing is allowed to detract from the lines or the shape of the chairs but their uncompromising modernity is softened by her clever choice of fabrics. These are chairs that are welcoming, a happy place to tuck up with a book.
The lighting collection at Lair is equally tempting and ranges from the proto-industrial creations that accompanied the exciting discovery of new materials and techniques around the 1950’s such as the beautifully sculptural Arredoluce floor lamp to the heft and grandeur of the contemporary the exploding lamps.
Having wrapped up their residency at the Arusha Gallery, Lair continues life online whilst Xanthe pursue the options for a permanent home for Lair in Edinburgh and continues sourcing new pieces for her collections.
We wish Xanthe the best of luck and await further news. In the meantime safe to say that since the arrival of Lair lovers of modernist design no longer need to schlep south of the border, or across to the continent to source such things again.
Long live Lair!
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