I have never played a game of chess in my life, nor have I ever had the desire to. I have to remind myself that Kings and Queens aren’t just titles of royalty as they are also 2 of 6 pieces in a game of chess (can you name the other 4?). I’ll admit…I’ve always had this preconceived notion that chess was either an old man’s game or a game for introverts. But boy, was I ever wrong. In the Mayfair neighborhood of London, there is a townhouse that is home to a members only restaurant, bar, and club called Chess Club. I just might have to reconsider taking up chess if I can hang out in stylish places like “the Club”.
T Magazine featured an article entitled “Decorating with Hundreds of Butterflies”, that highlighted what I have affectionately named the “butterfly walls” in the dining room of the Chess Club. The Club’s interiors were designed by Fran Hickman.
The butterfly walls were inspired by Hickman’s visit to the former home (now a museum) of Italian architect and designer Carlo Mollino where he covered walls with an amazing gallery wall of butterfly artwork (below).
Mollino’s art came from a 1950’s book entitled, “Joyaux Ailes, un atlas des plus beaux papillons du mode”. Hickman was so inspired that she admits to ordering six copies of the book from Abe Books upon her return from Turin. I might just have to do the same…after all, my name does mean “butterfly”…
A total of 257 bookplates were framed and put on display in the Club’s dining room. What a wonderful backdrop.
Carlo used the butterflies to represent transition and transformation….but I used them for the hue and playfulness – and as a reminder to live for the moment. –Fran Hickman, interior designer
Custom art by Anna Glover was commissioned for the space. The silkscreen panels (above & below) represent a nocturnal Garden of Eden. Pull up a seat at the bar and order a “Chess Master”, which includes Calle 23 tequila, fresh pomegranate, lemon juice, honey, elderflower vinegar and Peychaud’s Bitters. I’m more of a gin & tonic kinda gal but I’d be willing to give it a try. As they say, “When in Rome…”. Or in this case, London. The executive chef for Chess Club is Jackson Boxer, a popular chef in the London scene that is young, hip, and innovative. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served up at Chess Club.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about Chess Club. Unlike many private clubs, you don’t have to be nominated in order to become a member and membership prices are extremely reasonable. So if you are interested in membership, be sure to visit their website.