Alba Amicorum is an example of true collaboration. Based in Kinnerton yard, it is the brainchild of artist and graphic designer, Darshana Shilpi Rouget, who wanted to set up a gallery and incubator for wearable textile art.
Tell us a brief history of your brand – how it all began, what you do and your plans for the future.
I have always loved the process of collaborating with other creative minds, which grew out of my years working as an artist and graphic designer in New York and London.
Together with artists, I produce limited edition silk scarves, hand printed in Italy. Each scarf is an artwork in its own right, but is also beautifully fluid for draping, wrapping or hanging, so the owner of each piece can make it very personal. Alba Amicorum is Latin for ‘friendship books’ and refers to the Renaissance tradition of keeping a personal journal that you would fill with inscriptions from friends, eminent scholars and artists. This idea is at the core of our brand. My priority during the pandemic has been to keep supporting those artists who have had shows cancelled. Looking ahead, I am excited about some new collaborations including a special series with the Man Ray Trust.
How long have you been based in Belgravia?
I am new to Belgravia! I have been here six months.
Why did you choose Belgravia?
When I first came to look at my current studio space in Kinnerton Yard, I met the existing tenant, an art restorer who had been there for 15 years and had worked for the Queen and Grosvenor Estate. We connected straightaway. She was very positive and helpful, and I knew that I had found the right place.
Talk us through your ideal day in Belgravia, where would you visit, eat, drink, shop, workout, relax?
My ideal day in Belgravia would include lunch at Ottolenghi, followed by a visit to the Fine Cheese Company, Egg, and Blakes of Belgravia hardware, all on Kinnerton and Motcomb Street. The perfect end to the day would be dinner at Pantechnicon.
Where is your favourite spot in Belgravia?
My favourite place is my studio, and I love welcoming visitors to see our scarves and prints or to discuss possible collaborations.
What is it that makes Belgravia so unique?
It has the rare feel of a proper neighbourhood, with a strong community spirit and residential space mixed with small shops and studios where you can find curated, high quality artisanal products, especially around Kinnerton Street.