I was introduced to Bart Eyking by Meryl Fernandes, owner of the East London lifestyle store, thethestore. On an early spring day I made my way over to West London on the overground train to visit the sophisticated Bart at his apartment, set in a classic white washed, Georgian Town House. Bart welcomed me at the heavy front door, with stained glass detail, and lead me up the grand staircase to his living room, come office space. As I glanced round at his numerous antiquities and books, we sat and enjoyed fine french tea and pastries, making a welcome change to my usual cup of builders tea and a Chocolate Hobnob. Bart originally from Amsterdam in Holland, has lived in London for 8 years, and has been in his current apartment since September 2015.
What do you do?
I am an Architect, Interior Designer, and Product Designer. I have just finished designing a series of marble side tables. Marble to me is amazing – it is like jewellery. It feels decadent, and it can be treated in different ways – it can be made sweeter, rougher, shinier, and is just as beautiful in its natural state. There are so many variations – it is rich and decorative, which makes it unique compared to a material such as polished chrome.
What does your bedroom mean to you?
For me it is the perfect place to unwind. I come in here to read. I don’t have a lot of objects in here because I like the free space. I like to read a lot of history, I have delved into the Edwardian period in the UK, and now I am delving into the Edwardian period in Italy. I don’t have a telly, it obstructs my reading – I seriously dislike sitting in front of the TV, consuming something that I did not pick. But I do like to watch historical documentaries, like the ones you find on the BBC.
Tell me about some of the objects in your bedroom?
I have owned the painting, Omi Lieschen’s Badeanzug II, 2004 (Grandma Elizabeth’s swimsuit/Gran Lizzy’s swimsuit), by Eva Schwab, for 14 years. It is of the painter when she was a little girl, painted from an old photo. The swimming trunks are her grandmas – that is why they are so big. I am not a big grey or green person, but I am somehow subconsciously drawn to objects in these colours, although I do not wear green, it feels very comfortable to me.
I am fascinated by how people make things – the craft. Murano glass for me is fantastic. I am amazed that people can make some thing like the ashtray next to the painting, in one go. I am really into craftsmanship.
I was drawn to the obelisk’s [behind me on the window ledge] because I am a fan of Bernini, the great Roman architect. There are articulated turtles holding them up – I love the fact that these small creatures are carrying something so big. I am living in my fantasy world, a world that takes me away from modern day life. I like to listen to music of the 1920’s, Opera, and surround myself with objects that are part of my interest in history.
What influences your personal style?
I like the whole Italian style of the 1950’s and 1960’s. I like Italian designers of that period. I buy a lot of vintage stuff on Portobello road market. I take all my clothes to my tailor, Steve, on Portobello – my Lacoste shirts, everything – he crafts it all, and keeping my clothes at a specific size, stops me from over eating. I buy all my glasses in Napoli, I prefer to buy my glasses from a traditional source. Original 1960’s and 1970’s Italian frames are better made, than a modern designer brand, that is probably made in a Chinese factory. I think it is very easy to spend a lot of money and look good – but most people tend to look the same.
Who are your heroes?
Serge Gainsbourg is my childhood hero. I was in love with him. He influenced me to smoke and drink. He was crazy as hell. And the flamboyant Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio. Both writers with extreme personalities.
If your bedroom were on fire, what wold you save?
The painting. The rest can go.
How do you sleep, naked or bedclothes?
Just a t-shirt, otherwise I get a cold. I think that has to do with my upbringing – my mum was very keen on that – if I sleep without my t-shirt, I get a cold. I wear one all seasons. My brother does it too. And I also keep my watch on, never the watch with the leather strap, just the one with the chain strap.