The Invisible Collection Turns a Private Residence into a Design Collector’s Paradise in London

In 2016, The Invisible Collection quietly entered the design landscape with a novel idea. Founders Anna Zaoui and Isabelle Dubern created a showcase of bespoke furnishings and decor by renowned French and international designers within an e-commerce environment, as opposed to a traditional gallery setting. Within seconds, collectors, located anywhere in the world, could purchase Pierre Yovanovitch’s iconic Papa Bear armchair or the pink palm tree daybed that became an Instagram sensation by artist Marc Ange through a couple of clicks.

For nearly two years, Zaoui and Dubern conducted themselves as digital nomads—only meeting their customers through events they hosted across the globe. Now, they’re ready for collectors to travel to them, with the opening of their first showroom in Belgravia’s Chesham Place this summer.

A fireplace in the showroom.

Jon Aaron Green

While a permanent location was always on the horizon for The Invisible Collection, Zaoui and Dubern refused to settle on anything that didn’t tick all the boxes. “We have always dreamed of having a space, but it had to be at the right time and it had to look like us: intimate, chic, and by appointment,” says Dubern. “A conventional office would not suit us and we didn’t want an intimidating, icy storefront.”

A happy medium for the design duo came in the form of a historic private residence, where the superiority of handmade design could be properly recognized. “It’s certainly a kind of sensory shock to witness the pieces in person,” says Zaoui. “Clients instantly understand the level of craftsmanship when they see the shapes, proportions, and tactility.”

The showroom’s large windows afford plenty of natural light.

Divided into a double living room and office for the team, the apartment, which dates back to the 19th century, is rooted in old-world charm with original moldings and preserved oak floors. Meanwhile, modern designs from the brand’s collection are layered in the space. With Pierre Yovanovitch’s Metamorphose rug—handcrafted from a combination of wool, mohair, silk, and jute in Aubusson, France—as a starting point for the decor, Zaoui and Dubern complemented the carpet’s bold presence with a pair of simple armchairs by the designer, upholstered in his signature textured wool fabric. Across the room, a limited edition patinated brass mirror by Erwan Boulloud hangs above a minimalist fireplace that’s decorated with a CSLB Studio table lamp, whose blown crystal bulb is supported by a cylindrical plaster base.

Furniture and art coexist in the space.

However, not everything housed in the showroom is from the present era. The apartment’s former owners, high-profile English collectors who wish to remain anonymous, left behind a vintage Jacques Adnet library and Jean Royère round cocktail table—both iconic French designs from the midcentury. “It was an incredible sign of fate that seduced us,” says Dubern. “Like Christian Dior finding a star on Avenue Montaigne at the launch of his fashion house.” The pair of French antiquities are the latest designs added to the The Invisible Collection’s extensive lineup.

The launch of the brand’s showroom also signifies a new partnership with art gallery R & Company. While sourcing furnishings for her New York City apartment at the gallery’s Tribeca showroom several years ago, Zaoui realized that owners Zesty Meyers and Evan Snyderman shared her admiration for Pierre Yovanovitch’s work. Building upon their mutual appreciation for luxury and similar aesthetic, The Invisible Collection and R & Company agreed to promote one another’s work across the pond, blurring the lines between design and art more than ever. “Design and art are inseparable,” explains Zaoui. “It’s been our intuition since the creation of the site.”

By appointment only. 17 Chesham Street, London SW1X 8ND;

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