I worked in the City for ten years as a trader. They threatened me with the sack and my boss showed me a calendar showing all my sick days. By my late twenties I was really bored of it all. I ended up living all over the world, leaving a trail of carnage wherever I went.
Adrian Palengat is a man full of surprises. Tall and striking, his long hair and beard make him look like a handsome hippy and he offers us herbal tea and chocolate – always a good start. When I ask him how he came to be a successful gallery owner he tells us this, “I worked in the City for ten years as a trader. They threatened me with the sack and my boss showed me a calendar showing all my sick days so I worked harder, got a promotion but by my late twenties I was really bored of it all. I ended up living all over the world, leaving a trail of carnage wherever I went.” I get the feeling that this is not going to be my usual kind of interiors interview.
“My girlfriend at the time suggested I open a gallery because she was graduating from art school, so I opened Ap-Art to champion young artists even though I didn’t know anything about it and a year later we split up…” he continues. “I was beside myself and kept saying ‘what am I going to do with the art gallery now?!’” That was fifteen years ago and he now counts rock stars, fashionistas and serious art collectors amongst his regular clients. A nomad by nature, drifting around the world in search of art and adventure, Adrian lived for more than ten years between Argentina, the US and Europe and the gallery operated as a glamorous global pop up. One blogger described him as ‘drifting like designer tumbleweed across the planet’. It’s a good analogy. He talks animatedly about encountering Mexican drug lords, old school London gangsters and the elite fashion set. We are gripped.
Home is now a sprawling mansion flat in an otherwise deserted and derelict building in the centre of Notting Hill. Part home and part art installation, it towers over the high street, the building appears to have been all but abandoned. A sweeping staircase winds up several floors and elegant glass double doors lead to a huge mansion flat ,which Adrian has left largely unchanged apart from painting the walls and floors.
Antique service bells and an ancient and quite frankly terrifying looking fuse box are the closest it gets to modern luxury. Before Adrian moved in, the apartment had been lived in by the same family for generations and most of the antique furniture that remains belonged to the elderly lady who was the last owner. He has simply added his incredible collection of art. We can’t wait to hear about what he gets up to next…