Of all the jobs I fancy in the world International Treasure Hunter is up there with designer’s muse, food critic and 1806’s cocktail tester. Yet there are no Indiana Jones style adventures for Nicholas Mesiano and Alistair Knight of Nicholas & Alistair, just a whole lot of high-end sourcing and shopping (so, still a dream gig).
They hunt internationally for rare 20th century vintage and antique furniture and objets d’art and bring them home to their Abbotsford warehouse – where they have resided for well over a decade, formerly as Mondo Trasho – for a little TLC. Their current showcase of post-war Italian rarities is collectively called Il Nuovo Modo or ‘the new way’ and come from a period when artisans were still fighting for a human creative element in design as it was becoming increasingly industrialised. I also spied a sprinkling of French and American pieces in the museum or gallery-like space (and while touching is discouraged, everything is buy-able).
One of the crown jewels of the collection is a glossy black Pozzi & Verga dining suite from the 1940’s. With it’s ominously peaked shoulders I imagine it’s something Disney villain Maleficent might dine at should her plans not have gone awry. Personally I’d happily wrap a red ribbon around a 1920’s Art Deco Italian sofa, now upholstered in duck egg blue, and take it straight home. However having been newly inspired to feather my own sadly-neglected nest and finally decorate; unfortunately my budget is a little less “Nicholas and Alistair” and more “Real Living magazine”. But for those design-philes who can justify a luxury furniture purchase, a visit to N&A is akin to exploring Ali Baba’s cave.
You can discover Nicholas and Alistair at 387 Johnston Street, Abbotsford.