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Leo’s Nightclub – London


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Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, founders of Milan-based Dimore Studio (in 2003) are completely at home in dramatic surroundings. Quite literally.

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In addition to designing hospitality, retail and residential projects around the world, they are also active in the creation of exhibitions and temporary installations, and they also operate Dimore Gallery. 

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The pair was quite at home at London’s opulent and storied Arts Club, established in 1863 by “… men of vision to provide a haven for those people who had professional or amateur relationships with the Arts, Literature or Sciences.” 

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Salci and Moran, tactfully fusing the worlds of fashion, design, architecture and entertainment, have reimagined and upgraded the Arts Club’s lower-level supperclub, Leo’s.

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In addition to providing for the latest in performance technology, they’ve created a mood that seems recognizable, yet you cannot quite pin down the mood or the era.

It is an environment of elegantly curved shapes, shiny brass, plush pink velvet and then, a surprising curtain of bamboo-beads that form the image of large lotus flowers.

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The designers were quoted in an article as saying that Arts Club chairman, Gary Landesberg, wanted jazz and the designers wanted 1950s Palm Beach.

In the end, they had to find a balance between tacky kitsch and elegant sophistication and, luckily, they have let sophistication be the driving force with kitsch popping up in delightful, unexpected ways.

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Dramatic lighting, velvet upholstery and purple carpets, and above the tables silk lanterns painted with Chinese motifs. The designers have found the balance they were striving for, yet left us to find a few subtle and not-so-subtle surprises at each visit. Tuija Seipell.

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