Furniture designer Pavlo Schtakleff on Florence, ‘Fondue in the Sky’ and his favourite taxidermy crustacean
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My personal style signifier is wearing navy‑blue clothes. Colour is so important in my work that I don’t want anything to detract from what I create. And it makes getting dressed simple.
The last thing I bought and loved was a polished bronze sculpture – She # by Steve Howlett. Its incredibly tactile, curvaceous form takes my breath away. £19,920; stevehowlett.com
And the thing I am eyeing next is a Citroën DS 21 Pallas in navy blue. I’ve loved its elegant curves and unique character since my teens – I dream of driving around the Côte d’Azur with the roof down.
The last item I added to my wardrobe was a pair of Red Wing’s Rover 2951 round-toe boots. I spend a lot of time in factories, so I need something tough on my feet – and these are proper American work boots. They’re cool too; Steve McQueen wore them. £249; 17 Newburgh St, London W1 (020-7287 5007; redwinglondon.com).
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to recently is Monte Grappa in the Venetian Prealps, for a shoot. When we arrived it was -20C but the sun rose as we got to the summit; the effect of the pinky-blue tones of the sky against the purity of the snow was spectacular.
And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a slab of Brazilian Azul Macaubas granite. I came across it at a suppliers in Slovenia – I’d never seen such an array of natural textures and colours before. I’m hoping to transform it into a console table.
A recent “find” is the tailoring and antiques shop Labassa Woolfe in London. Joe Woolfe and Johan Labassa’s bespoke suits are wonderfully detailed, and mixing tailoring with French antiques makes for a very interesting environment. 6 Percy St, London W1 (020-3205 0111; labassawoolfe.com)
An object I would never part with is my taxidermy lobster. When I explained my rather odd passion for the unexpected intricacy and colours of taxidermy crustaceans to my wife, she was horrified – but she bought this for me anyway. I see it as a rather unconventional symbol of her unconditional love. From £2,100; londontaxidermy.com
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Constantin Brancusi. His work has a primal element combined with a softness that resonates with my aesthetic.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at a Fondue in the Sky pop-up restaurant in Verbier: Swiss moitié-moitié fondue made with Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois, accompanied by a delicious white wine by Jean-René Germanier, which I ate in a cable car hanging high above the mountains. fondueinthesky.com
The best gift I’ve given recently is a 19th‑century shell, ruby and emerald necklace to my wife Amalia, after she lost a very special one from her grandmother. I didn’t want to replace it, but I did want to find something that fulfilled the same role of being a future heirloom that she could wear every day. Saint Esprit, Bourbon Hanby Antiques Arcade, 151 Sydney St, London SW3 (020-7351 3030).
An indulgence I would never forgo is switching off my phone at night.
If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Florence. I studied history of art there in my 20s, and the shapes and colours of the Franciscan church Santa Croce, and its Pazzi Chapel, still have a significant influence on my work. I always visit the perfumery Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, a paradise of history and scent; and the vaulted contemporary design gallery Flair, where unique art and furniture is curated with Italian panache. In the evenings, I relive my youth with a Campari spritz at Cabiria Lounge Bar in Piazza Santo Spirito. Basilica di Santa Croce, Piazza di Santa Croce 16 (santacroceopera.it). Cabiria Lounge Bar, Piazza Santo Spirito 4r (+39055-215 732; cafecabiria.com). Flair, Lungarno Corsini 24r (+39055-267 0154; flair.it). Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Via della Scala 16 (+39055-216 276; smnovella.com)
My favourite apps are Spotify, because I can’t work without music, and the weather app Dark Sky because I am half English and therefore obsessed with it.
My personal style icon is the Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni. No one sums up cool 1960s elegance quite like him.
The grooming staple I’m never without is Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage, which I’ve worn since I was 15. I have a very strong sense of smell and this has a lovely, light lemony scent. £65 for 100ml EDT; dior.com
The best book I’ve read in the past year is Older Than the Stars by Karen C Fox, which I’m reading to my four-year-old son. He’s obsessed with the planets and the stars, and this tells the story of the cosmic connections that tie humans to the beginnings of the universe. £7.95; charlesbridge.com
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the Haut Marais in the third arrondissement. Paris is really all about food and people-watching – and my favourite places combine the two. Café Charlot serves great coffee; Le Traiteur Marocain in the bustling Marché des Enfants Rouges sells irresistible sweets and pastries; and the seafood bar L’Ilot is the perfect place to spy beautiful Parisians scoffing oysters. Gallery S Bensimon is always filled with interesting objects in unexpected materials, and I love the concept store Merci – it’s a great launchpad for young designers. Café Charlot, 38 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 (+331-4454 0330; cafecharlotparis.com). Gallery S Bensimon, 111 Rue de Turenne, 75003 (+331-4274 5077; bensimon.com). Le Traiteur Marocain, 39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 (+331-4011 2040). L’Ilot, 4 Rue de la Corderie, 75003 (+336-9512 8661; lilot-restaurant.com). Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 (+331-4277 0033; merci-merci.com)
The best gift I’ve received recently is a long weekend in Lake Como, which my wife Amalia booked as a surprise for my 40th birthday. It was as beautiful as I’d imagined. Lunch at Al Veluu was a particular highlight; the fruit and vegetables come from its own garden and it has the most magical view. Via Rogaro 11, 22019 Tremezzo (+39034-440 510; alveluu.com)
The person I rely on for personal grooming is Anthony Laban – the only person I trust to cut my unruly hair. 3 Bennet Court, 1 Bellevue Road, London SW1 (020-3475 6644; anthonylabanhome.com)
In my fridge you’ll always find piles of organic vegetables, a bottle of Bosa Prosecco and many tubs of za’atar. We have a family friend in Beirut who makes the perfect blend – sharp with extra sumac – but the Middle Eastern supermarket Green Valley does a good one, too. I like to eat it with olive oil and pitta bread as a late-night snack. £9.75 for 1kg; 36-37 Upper Berkeley Street, London W1 (020-7402 7385; green-valley.co)
My favourite room in my house is actually my garden. We live in London, so it’s a typical urban courtyard, but we’ve turned it into a private oasis filled with olive trees and potted plants. Amalia says I always look calmer when I’ve been in the garden – watering and watching things grow gives me a rare chance to switch off.
The last music I downloaded was the hip-hop track Beu2ful (Instrumental) by Lacks aka Ta’Raach. I was introduced to it by a new designer we’re working with, and it will always remind me of that particular creative process.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a psychoanalyst. I’m intrigued by how people work, emotionally and mentally.