Jermaine gallachers journey as a design dealer started with a squiggle. the first thing i ever sold was a zigzag candlestick ipicked up at battersea car boot sale, he says. ive always been drawn to objects with a sculptural silhouette.
Today, his showroom is a lime-washed wonderland of waves, wiggles and snaking lines housed inside a 19th-century cork factory in londons borough. since opening in 2018, it has become a hunting ground forthose whose tastes tread the fine line between the bizarre and the beautiful. its certainly not for everyone, says gallacher of his eclectic assortment of contemporary design, postmodern antiques and arts and crafts curios that might include a pillar-box-red wall-hanging axe, a pair of spiral wall sconces or a set of four leopard-print chairs. i like interiors that make you feelsomething, he says. i want to be surrounded by things that alter the mood.
Although hes reluctant to be termed a gallerist, gallachers showroom has also become an incubator for nascent creative talents such as miranda keyes, whose foot-shaped jesmonite bookends sit alongside the lacquered steel and leather chairs and lamps of lukas gschwandtner, an austrian furniture maker who poetically reimagines the proportions of viennese modernism in poetic new forms. in september, the lant street space hosted anexhibition of italian artist viola lanaris powdery plaster creations consoles and tables that began as an ode to giacomettis 1930s tte de femme lamps. this month its the turn of londons tom atton moore, who hand-tufts his abstracted rugs in his shed.
Gallacher honed his magpie eye for design by scouring the junk shops of his native brighton. snoopers paradise was my second home, says the camberwell artschool graduate, whose weekly pitch at spitalfields market gradually evolved into more permanent shop spaces across soho, waterloo and dalston. it was on a visit to lant street wine, an independent shop around the corner from his home, that gallacher found his current base. it turned out that they had a huge warehouse space, he explains. it was being used for storage but owner ben wilcock wanted to make itinto a bar. which is why gallachers by-appointment showroom doubles as a drinking den, social restrictions allowing, on thursday and friday nights and why lant street wines bottles bear gallachers signature wiggle logo.
Furniture shops can be bloody dull, he says. i had no intention of just sitting behind an expensive desk all day waiting for someone to come and spend lots of money. his epicurean set-up seems to inspire the latter, however. when kelly wearstler, the doyenne of west coast interior design, visited recently, her buying spree included a pair of gschwandtners leather and steel chairs, several vases and apostmodern elm dining table. gallachers sales tactic was simple: i just shut the doors, poured a glass of wine and let her shop.
And now there comes a further draw: gallachers debut prototype collection offurniture and decorative accessories. chief among the series of candelabras, consoles, shelf brackets and stools whichall come in unadorned raw steel orcontrastingly pop-y hues is an enormous high-backed throne. wrought entirely from angular, zig-zagging lines, its the antithesis of prettiness. its a rather wild occasional chair, he says. i imagine itin a hallway with a huge 1980s push-button telephone on it.