Nomad is a travelling event for collectable design that will bring together a selection of the world’s leading galleries in incredible architectural locations. Nomad establishes a unique dialog between gallery works and a very personal context, gathering a community of individuals looking for a different experience. Nomad is an event for collectors, interior designers, architects and art professionals.
Nomad takes place annually and displays in a different city every year. This year’s edition of Nomad Monaco allowed visitors an exclusive look inside the historic property of the prestigious villa La Vigie.
Facing out over the Côte d’Azur, La Vigie was built in 1902 and is now widely considered one of the finest properties on the French Riviera. It was home to fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld throughout the 1990s and later became an exclusive hotel.
Organizers Giorgio Pace and Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte see the event as a new approach to the traditional design fair. These are two smooth operators surrounded by artists, galleries and collectors who already know and recognize them as leading voices in the design and luxury sectors. Here is what Nicolas and Giorgio told about the event.
What gave you the idea for Nomad and what gap is it filling in the art and design fair market?
Nicholas Bellavance-Lecompte: As a gallerist, I was never that convinced about the usual format of art and design fairs and was often in discussions with various galleries about creating something different, but it was difficult to organize on my own. When Giorgio and I were introduced, we quickly realized we had similar visions. One of the benefits of Nomad is that the objects are not presented in a horrible, big tent – you are seeing them in a beautiful house in daylight, which is ultimately where they will end up. It’s all really personal. People can relate to the work to see how it will look in their home.
Giorgio Pace: Both of us have been involved in art and design fairs all over the world. There is one happening somewhere almost every day, so we thought it would be boring just to add another one. When we met in Milan during the Salone we realized we’d both wanted to create something different in the art fair space. It felt like we could be perfect partners. Nicolas has amazing experience in galleries and fairs and our clients, contacts and ideas were really complimentary. Existing fairs all boast about visitor numbers, but how many of those visitors are actually buying art? With Nomad, we wanted to organize something smaller, by invitation that targets the right people. Numbers are restricted but it works, as collectors who really want to buy art and design don’t want to be surrounded by millions of visitors.
Why did you decide to launch the event in Monaco?
Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte: There seems to be a bit of a renaissance in Monaco at the moment in terms of investment in culture, so it felt like the perfect location. The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, for example, has a great reputation now internationally for their exhibitions and I think the Principality is keen to bring back the energy of the golden years of Monte Carlo. The circle of collectors who are living here all thanked us for bringing this event to the city. As far as timing is concerned, we were originally considering doing the show in September during the Monaco Yacht Show but in the end we thought that April was more targeted as it coincides with Art Monte Carlo. It’s turned out perfectly as there are already so many important galleries travelling here, along with their collectors. The design platform was missing in Monaco so it was good to add that alongside the art.
How did you decide which galleries participated in Nomad?
Giorgio Pace: After so many years in the art and design world we both had a great network of galleries. Before we launched, we contacted our shortlist and once we went public about the event, some others also approached us. Unfortunately, the space only holds 15 galleries – there were many more who wanted to come. Maybe next year we can convince SBM [Société des Bains de Mer, who lease the property] to let us expand a bit – we’d like to use the greenhouse, for example, for younger, up-and-coming galleries.
Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte: We wanted to bring more order and structure to the design fair space so the galleries we chose to work with had to have very clearly defined projects. Art fairs and art venues are very established and you can usually clearly understand the selection criteria, but the collectable design field is new in terms of a gallery scene. We wanted to do things in a methodical way and push galleries to improve their programs.
How did you decide on the venue, La Vigie?
Giorgio Pace: I saw it from the street and found out it belonged to SBM. Usually they rent the villa out to private customers over the summer or it is hired for weddings and events. They’d never rented out the entire house for an exhibition, so I think they were a bit apprehensive. But they’ve all been to visit and they are really happy. We’ve signed to run the event in Monaco for three years.
Where else do you see yourselves transporting Nomad in the future?
Giorgio Pace: We are planning to do an event next winter in a secret location, which we are discussing now. Another dream would be to take it to Palm Springs or maybe Marrakech or Beirut. We don’t ever want to go to predictable locations. We’ll never do it in London, New York or Paris, for example, those cities already have so much – we want to be more surprising than that. Our nomadic concept is based around travelling and actually, we believe the future of design should be in the provinces – maybe even the countryside.