Nina Yashar, Director of Nilufar Gallery in Milan
30 May 2021
COLLECTIBLE: How did you get into collectible design? Why did you start your gallery?
Nina Yashar: I opened my first gallery when I was very young, 21 years old, dealing only antique carpets, following my roots, as my father was a rug dealer. Then, I started adding vintage furniture, not because it was my intention but it actually happened by chance. I used to go to New York to buy antique carpets and one day, I saw in a window a carpet that I had never seen in my life and I discovered it was a Swedish rug. I really didn’t know that Sweden in the ‘50 produced carpets. So, I decided to go to Stockholm and two months later I went there. I visited the best carpet gallery, JP Willborg, and in three hours I did my selection and bought 21 carpets. The day after, I was accompanied in a huge garage full of furniture where I asked about prices, so low compared to carpets, so I decided to buy some of them. When I came back to Italy, I did my first exhibition with Swedish carpets and these few mid-Century pieces. I asked my expert friends what kind of pieces they were and they told me I had bought an Alvar Aalto’s wardrobe of the Paimio Sanatorium and an amazing presidential desk and unique piece by Bruno Mathsson, as well as some pieces by Hans Wagner. They were all amazing pieces! This was my starting point in dealing with design furniture. 15 years ago I also understood that it was necessary for me and for the Gallery to be updated and I started to address the challenge of contemporary design. It was a crucial moment of my career.
“The profound respect for the discipline of design must be the common basis of each designer who collaborates with the gallery, associated with a desire to look beyond and to start from their own uniqueness to give life to projects that really tell new stories.”
C: Can you talk about the designers you present for COLLECTIBLE SALON, what makes their practice and pieces unique
NY: I have selected many contemporary and young designers. Some of them are from one of my latest discoveries, the collective FAR, curated by Studio Vedèt, like Audrey Large, Bram Vanderbeke and Wendy Andreu, Destroyers/Builders, Carlo Lorenzetti, Objects of Common Interest, Lukas Wegwerth, Johan Viladrich. FAR is an experimental project and a journey through the work of emerging designers who have put themselves to the test by confronting new expressive processes.
Among the other designers, there are Flavie Audi, Federico Peri, Maarten de Ceulaer and Sophie Dries.
Research and design innovation are certainly two values that Nilufar never gives up. The profound respect for the discipline of design must be the common basis of each designer who collaborates with the gallery, associated with a desire to look beyond and to start from their own uniqueness to give life to projects that really tell new stories. That’s the point and the reason why I have decided to present them at COLLECTIBLE SALON.
C: What have you been up to recently? What are the next projects or exhibitions you wish to highlight?
NY: I am now launching the new virtual exhibition Scale to Infinity by Audrey Large, from FAR 2021, curated by Studio Vedèt. I love her work because she creates hybridizations between real and virtual world, associating the technique of modeling and 3D printing with a particular bioplastic material, PLA, with an original and unique design thought. This is a project that will see an evolution in September, during the next design week, and that will be exhibited at Nilufar Gallery. Among the other projects I will present in September, the exhibition dedicated to the sculptures Matacubi by Pietro Consagra, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, in collaboration with Archivio Pietro Consagra, at Nilufar Depot, which is my very first art exhibition that I will present in my spaces, and I am thrilled about this opening.
I will also present new contemporary productions by Bethan Laura Wood, Khaled El Mays, Analogia Project, Federico Peri and Federica Perazzoli, among others.
C: Could you develop your new special project Picked by Nina? How does it interact with Nilufar?
NY: Picked by Nina is a special project dedicated to a selection of designs and works of art, which features numbered pieces realized exclusively for Nilufar, now chosen with the precise intention of making collectible design accessible to everyone. This is the aim, and the criteria is to lead the public to the discovery of some special collections, signed by important designers, architects and artists, which are going to be directly available for purchase on the new pickedbynina.com e-commerce website. For me, it represents a small capsule collection enclosed in the great Nilufar world, designed for a younger audience, to make immediate the possibility of purchasing the selection of pieces that I personally make.