“I really got some crossed looks when I brought this Indonesian mask back from a trip overseas,” says Andrew Galuppi (at right). “I took up most of the overhead bins!”
Looking to ward off the evil eye with a wedding Hamsa from North Africa, amass an instant collection of Japanese liquor bottles, or add a Moroccan Beni Ouran rug to your living room? These exotic treasures and many more are just a click away thanks to interior designer Andrew Galuppi and architect Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami. The pair have teamed up with flash sale site One Kings Lane for “Camera Mundi” an online tag sale that begins today.
The collection of homegoods, priced from $20 to $3,000, includes rugs, furniture, statuary, and other objects collected by Galuppi and Sardar-Afkhami during their travels around the world. “Every handcrafted item is infused with someone’s story—they probably were taught their skill by a long-lost relative and spent hours on each piece, and without the help of a machine,” says Galuppi, who travels to India every winter. “This is part of the world I like supporting, because each piece carries with it an energy and a real story that gets transferred to your home.” We asked the globe-trotting designers to tell us more about “Camera Mundi,” the objects in the sale, and where their worldly, contemporary aesthetic will take them next.
How did you come to work with One King’s Lane?
Ahmad Sardar-Afkhani: One of my close friends, Nate Berkus, was doing a sale with another friend, Ethan Trask, who works at One Kings Lane. We began talking and he proposed I create a sale mostly with the rugs and textiles I have been collecting.
Andrew Galuppi: Ahmad didn’t want to do the sale all alone—it’s more fun with a friend—so he knew my apartment was stuffed to the rafters with bits and bobs and he thought the mixture of our two collections would create one great big exciting assortment…kinda like a crazy bazaar!
Tell us about the significance of the title, “Camera Mundi”?
Sardar-Afkhani: In Latin, it means “room of the world,” where objects from different historical and cultural backgrounds can be displayed next to each other. I’m all for this type of juxtaposition, where new meaning and beauty is derived from assemblages of objects that would otherwise have little in common.
Galuppi: In addition to what Ahmad has explained…I think that a lot of people have really well curated homes these days, and including an object from some far away place will add texture and personality to a space to make it really feel finished and unique. That’s where “camera mundi” comes into place: bringing the globe home.
How did you become interested in Moroccan Beni Ouran rugs?
Sardar-Afkhani: I had originally seen these rugs in black-and-white photographs of some of Le Corbusier‘s early villas. I also had seen David Adler make extensive use of them in his Chicago homes. I was intrigued by their graphic beauty and capacity to hold their own in interiors of different styles. Of course I love that they are also woven as household goods in the mountains around Fez, and are a very pure and regional expression of tribal life.
Do you have a favorite travel story or adventure related to one of the items for sale?
Sardar-Afkhani: One of the rugs in the sale was sold to me by a lady near Tazenacht [in southern Morocco]. Her whole life revolved around these animals. It was late one night and we were chatting through the help of her son who translated my French and Arabic to Tamazight. I asked her whether she ever used color in her weavings. She asked, “What do you mean?” I said blue or red or yellow. She howled with laughter and said, “When you show me a blue sheep, I’ll make you a blue rug.”
Tell us about the sterling silver wedding Hamsa (pictured at top left).
Sardar-Afkhani: I was always fascinated by the fact that Moroccan Jewish silversmiths produced items that would gain social and cultural importance in neighboring ethnicities. Morocco was indeed at one point, a cultural melting pot of the three abrahamic religions. The same can be said about the rugs produced by Muslim Berbers that would end up in Jewish homes. This particular Hamsa is massive and from the lizards portrayed on it was intended as a dowry at a Berber wedding. I found it at a market near Zagora, the start of the caravan route that links Marrakech to Timbuctoo.
Where to next?
Sardar-Afkhani: I’m traveling down through Mauritania in the next few months, to source leather and wool rugs that I’m hoping to bring to another sale at One Kings Lane. I’m also itching to go to Orissa in India yo visit the great Konarak temple and to go up to Darjeeling and Nagaland.
Galuppi: I am so excited to be opening my design practice in Bombay this December—yep, that’s why I’ve decided to go ahead with this sale and say goodbye to some of my treasures. I am taking the plunge into the big, exhilarating often frustrating always inspiring crazy noisy place called Bombay. Some people leave their hearts in San Fran. I left mine in Bombay!