Rhapsody in blue
Belle Magazine Australia|April 2020
Ensconced in one of London’s most desirable addresses, Francis Sultana carries on an affair with design that spans the centuries.
JEAN WRIGHT

Last year finished on a high for internationally sought-after interior and furniture designer Francis Sultana, who I met nearly a decade ago when I visited his first studio in a compact shopfront on London’s Fulham Road. In 2019, he celebrated 10 years of his design studio with the launch of a tenth furniture collection and a book marking the occasion, Francis Sultana: Designs & Interiors. Francis’s world is, in the words of the author, Bronwyn Cosgrave, “a rarefied place”. His clients count as influential art collectors, and the abodes that Francis shares with partner David Gill (a 16th-century palazzo in Malta’s capital, Valletta, and a prized ‘set’, as the apartments are known, in Albany, one of London’s finest addresses) are filled with exceptional works of contemporary art and design.

It is a far cry from Francis’s rural childhood in the 80s on the Maltese island of Gozo, where the magazines he subscribed to from the age of 11 fed his passion for design, kept him updated on what was happening in the world and formed his vision. “The secret of success is to have no fear,” Francis often says and, at age 19, he seized an opportunity to move to London. Two years later, in 1992, a meeting with gallerist and pioneer in limited-edition ‘design art’ David Gill (his partner in life and work) was a major turning point.

Since 2007 Francis and David have lived in Albany, a stately Georgian mansion turned into apartments in Piccadilly, whose former inhabitants have included politicians, writers, actors, aristocrats and royalty, including Lord Byron, Baroness Pauline de Rothschild, David Hicks and Terence Stamp.

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