Antonia Crespi of Casa Gstaad
In conversation with

Antonia
Crespí

Words by RILEY UGGLA.

Discover the inspiration behind one of Switzerland’s most unique showrooms,
Riley Uggla, in conversation with Antonia Crespí.

Antonia Crespí, from the Gestures of Air Exhibition at Tarmak 22

From the Rosanna Helena Back exhibition, Gestures of Air at Tarmak 22, Summer 2022

Contemporary design and style are rooted in Antonia Crespí’s DNA. The Founder of Casa Gstaad and Tarmak 22 grew up surrounded by interior design and immersed in Mallorca’s art scene. As forward-thinking then as she is now, Crespi launched an interior concept store fresh from university in her grandfather’s Mallorcan manor. A beautiful, sprawling space covering more than 1000 square meters. Launching, before the world was familiar with iconic establishments like Collette, was, admittedly, “a courageous thing to do twenty years ago in Mallorca”. But the bold move paid off. Now, with multiple ventures under her name and exciting collaborations on the horizon, Antonia Crepsí, who considers Switzerland’s picturesque and high-end location of Gstaad her home, is still making waves in the art world and knows a thing or two about getting the most out of a flea market.

Riley Uggla and Antonia Crespí discuss artistic endeavours and the secret to effective vintage shopping.

Riley Uggla: What initially brought you to Gstaad?

Antonia Crepsí: I moved to Switzerland when my children attended school here. I started working in real estate, which naturally evolved into development. From my work in Gstaad (high-end chalet and hotel development) came Tarmak 22, which I founded in 2019.

RU: Tell me about Tarmak 22.

AC: Tarmak 22 is a gallery I launched with Tatiana de Pahlen at the private airport in Gstaad. We collaborate with global galleries in the winter, and then in summer, we use the space to showcase new, emerging artists, giving them a platform. It’s a way of giving back to the community and providing something that’s not only commercial but engages the local population. The curation, too, has been excellent. This winter, we’ve had Richard Prince, Günther Förg, Paul McCarthy and Jenny Holzer.

Antonia Crespi of Casa Gstaad. Detail.

"It’s a way of giving back to the community and providing something that’s not only commercial but engages the local population." – Antonia Crespí

Antonia Crespi of Casa Gstaad

Antique Sideboard (similar here), Alabastar Lamp, Brass Candle Stick (similar here), Ceramic Vases (similar here), Beyond the Town - Conversations of Art and Land, Berlinde De Bruyckere – One, Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso.

RU: How did Casa Gstaad come into existence?

AC: It was very spontaneous. There was this cute historical building in the middle of town that I wanted to rent but ended up buying and meticulously restoring it to its original beauty. I wanted to create a space that married the traditional look of the region with something more contemporary.

RU: Is Casa Gstaad a showroom?

AC: Yes. I commissioned seven pieces you can build a house around, specifically for Casa Gstaad. I’d describe the collection as having an old-world ski aesthetic in a neutral palette but with striking elements such as bronze and lava stone. It’s a furniture collection that embodies a modern, minimalist alpine way of life and consists of the basic things you need for a house (table, coffee table, sofa etc). This collection, along with smaller pieces such as ceramics and collaborations, is what we show.

RU: You have an amazing eye for collecting vintage and antique furniture and then uniquely restoring them. Where do you find all these incredible pieces?

AC: I spend a lot of time at flea markets. But I think, as with everything in life, it’s not just about the value of things. Of course, I love really designed pieces, and I recognise the talent and artistry that goes into certain styles, but flea markets offer a way of mixing your aesthetic so the look isn’t so rigid. They create a more relaxed impression when styled among expensive collectables.

RU: What’s the best way to shop at a flea market?

AC: Rule number one is you have to know what you’re looking for and what you need. Even if you see a great product, focus specifically on what you came to find (unless it’s something exceptional). Remember where you want the pieces you’re looking for to go and the kind of look you’re aiming for, and don’t deviate from the big idea.

Antonia Crespí of Casa Gstaad

The Casa Gstaad Showroom, featuring dining chair by Casa Gstaad and lamp by Ignazio Gardella (similar here)

RU: What is your favourite flea market to visit?

AC: The most epic and famous is Les Puces (Les Puces de Saint-Ouen) in Paris. It’s huge. If I could, I’d go every Sunday! I also have many dealers I work with who are incredibly knowledgeable. When you meet dealers and build a relationship with them, you get to know each other, and they learn your tastes. They understand what you’re looking for and offer you the best pieces. There are also many fascinating auction houses in Paris. Lastly, there’s an amazing, addictive app I use all the time called The Invaluable. It pulls together 1000s of auctions worldwide into one place, and it’s an incredible place to start looking for antiques.

RU: Where do you get your inspiration?

AC: Instagram is good for its references. The selection of people there is varied and fascinating, and you can find great stores, dealers and pieces. But, building and investing in your own library of books from the past century is essential so you can gather real references from designers and homes. The images in books are staged and planned to perfection, so what works well and why is clear. Being out in the world is crucial, not just looking at a screen. You want to be able to touch furniture and materials in real life and learn about the ones you love.

Antonia Crespí of Casa Gstaad. ‘Larry Stanton: A Visual Diary’ is an ode to the life and practice of Larry Stanton, which was largely focused on portraiture.

RU: What are the most important parts of a room to invest in?

AC: The floor, walls, and lighting. You invest in these things once or very infrequently, so getting them right is important. Especially the floor! Many people don’t think about this but pay attention to the finish on the wall, whether shiny, matt or textured, as the light will reflect off it, so getting it right is crucial.

RU: What are your favourite interior or design magazines?

AC: Architectural Digest is a classic for everyone. I love the German and American Editions. T Magazine from The New York Times writes thoughtful and inspiring articles on architecture, lifestyle and interior design. They understand it’s not just about the aesthetic, the pieces you buy or the designer but an entire muti-faceted lifestyle, and they have amazing editors. I try to follow and read as much as possible and visit as many shops, markets and dealers as I can while travelling.

RU: Lastly, who are your favourite designers at the moment?

AC: FormaFantasma is an incredible Italian studio based in Milan that is doing great things with sustainability and functionality. They represent a new direction in design, and their concepts and strategies are interesting to follow.

Visit Casa Gstaad or Tarmak 22 to learn more about Crespí and her work. Or visit her Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at her world of work.

Antonia Crespí by Hana Bucker

Antonia Crespí by Hana Bucker

Pure Newzealand Wool Rug by Casa Gstaad
Dining Chair by Casa Gstaad
Coffee table, sofa and dining chair by Casa Gstaad. Price Upon Request.

Rug, dining chair and coffee table by Casa Gstaad. Price Upon Request.

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