“Life is too short to surround yourself with boring furniture”
- says Balázs Pécsi, luxury expert, who’s been working hard for years to establish a personal relationship between Hungarian enthusiasts of high-end design and some of the biggest luxury design brands in the world. Their online luxury magazine The Gentleman’s Review is just one key player in this initiative, along with their latest project, SNOBELIER, an online luxury department store. We talked to Balázs about one of the newest brands in the portfolio of the store, Scarlet Splendour, as well as his passion for furniture and interior design!
You have just recently launched, firstly in Hungary, your online luxury store aimed for the Central and Eastern European market, and we were surprised to see that it has a category for interior design products. What was the inspiration behind SNOBELIER?
It is a very important aspect of this platform that it aims to evoke the feeling of strutting through one of those iconic luxury department stores in Western Europe, with an additional level of comfort. That being the fact that by visiting SNOBELIER you don’t need to walk up and down the escalators, you can just easily order any product you wish from the comfort of your armchair. Whether it’s a Valentino or Versace bag for yourself or your partner, or the world’s most expensive caviar, or a stylish cabinet or armchair, we’ll have it for you.
Actually, I have a personal preference for the latter. I spent the past decade working as an editor for a number of interior decoration magazines: I was managing editor of the Polgári Otthon magazine, and I had the chance to work at Lakáskultúra as well. Because of this, I have a strong relationship with interior design.
I admit, it is my favorite product category we have, and I might be quite biased when it comes to the time I decide to invest in the expansion of our portfolio.
The product range of SNOBELIER includes many brands, but most of the goods come from a singular and - in Hungarian terms - obscure brand, Scarlet Splendour. What is the reason behind that?
The “curator concept” is an essential part of the SNOBELIER project, meaning that we only distribute an exclusive, careful selection of products from our suppliers.
These are items that we believe are capable of complementing each other and the individual styles of our customers.
It doesn’t really matter if these are accessories or pieces of furniture. Scarlet Splendour is a fresh, up-and-coming brand that has already become a recurring feature of global design magazines from Latin America through Western Europe to Asia.
In Europe, Scarlet Splendour is only available through a handful of multi-brand stores, so we immediately saw an opportunity. We contacted them, laid out our plans for expansion in our region and we managed to convince the owner of the brand that we can be the perfect business partners for them in Hungary.
What can you tell us about Scarlet Splendour’s background and the people who are contributing to its portfolio?
The brand was founded in 2014 by siblings Ashish Bajoria and Suman Kanodia in Kolkata, India, which stayed as the center of manufacture ever since. This is where the brand’s only showroom, Teatro Scarlet, is located as well. Indian artisans have been renowned for millenia, the world’s most expensive jewels originate from here and then ship mostly to the Far East. Scarlet Splendour premiered at the Milan Design Week in 2015 and continues to feature at international design fairs.
The founders were always careful in selecting the best designers from the global design scene, with whom they collaborate on the latest collections. Scarlet Splendour is proud to have worked with Italian “prodigy” Matteo Cibic, Nika Zupanc from Serbia and Italian Elena Salmistraro, among others.
What makes the products of Scarlet Splendour stand out in your opinion?
At first glance, you could say that the brand manufactures statement pieces. In reality, many of their products are less than ostentatious - obviously, they all have their own little twists, a quality that is rarely encountered in the dubious and cheap online shops offering mass produced Turkish and Indonesian products.
The brand also offers a wide range of products I simply call “ornamental furniture”. These came to be for the same exact reason as a precious jewel in a stylish set.
They are the highlight of the interior, they attract attention and they bring a sense of luxury even in cheaper environments.
They aren’t intended to become part of a strict interior concept, this isn’t what they are for. These pieces of furniture are not essential to your everyday comfort. These aren’t mass produced, and there isn’t some long-forgotten warehouse where these products are stacked to the ceiling. Their design is given, although they are custom-made to order. The owners of these products can confidently say that whatever they possess is truly one of its kind.
Besides these products being extremely aesthetic and beneficial to the visual value of any interior, they are status symbols in their own right, meta-communication tools in the hands of clients to convey a sense of quality and individual style to visitors and guests.
Some of Scarlet Splendour’s products are not aimed at a grown-up audience, as you advertise them as children’s furniture. Could design awareness be this important at a younger age as well?
These products aren’t originally built for children, but we decided to include them along with other products aimed at a younger generation, including Baghera toy cars and clothing by Dolce&Gabbana or Fendi. It is quite an unusual categorization concept, I admit, but it doesn’t defy logic. Who would say that an armchair in the shape of a gorilla, or a paw-shaped side table or a cupboard imitating a lush tree should be exclusive to the company of Jeff Koons artworks in penthouses of Paris and Milan? These fun products will absolutely steal the show in any children’s room. And besides, it is very important to provide diverse visual impulses to children from a young age. Visual education starts in our own homes and close familiar environments. This can have an enormous impact on the future of our children.
Do you have a personal favorite product from Scarlet Splendour?
This is very difficult to answer! I really love all of them, because each of their collections are visibly inspired by a precise vision - this means that, even though Scarlet Splendour products can find their homes in a variety of interiors, each of them radiate a very different atmosphere and style.
I like the subtle, minimalist femininity of Nika Zupanc, evident in her Strings and 88 Secrets collections, but my absolute favorite is the Animagic collection by Matteo Cibic. These cupboards laced with huge golden elephant and donkey figures are so surreal, it is as if these products came straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. I also love the cactus-shaped Oasys bar cupboards that can lighten up any space with their joyous design.
I love that all of these products have a sense of humour to them, they all present some sort of a visual gag - this is so much in line with our philosophy that we shouldn’t surround ourselves with boring furniture.
Are you planning to introduce a number of other brands in Hungary and related markets?
Absolutely, we are already in talks with many outstanding brands whose products are fitting for our own portfolio. We’d like to make products available for individual customers and business clients that are hard, or even impossible, to get your hands on at the moment in Hungary. We’d like to offer a sort of concierge service to our partners and become the right hand of excellent, world-class design brands in our region.
S/ALON BUDAPEST 2021 is over, but the ever-changing world of international interior and furniture design never stops: our official Facebook and Instagram pages delivers the latest releases and brand premieres, as well as outstanding interiors and the best moments of this year’s exhibition. Subscribe to our channels and let’s meet again in 2022 for an unforgettable weekend!