My design Christmas: Nigel Coates

Architect and designer Nigel Coates tells us about his perfect London Christmas.
WHAT A LONDON CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME
I confess to loving Trafalgar Square in its Christmas get-up, complete with carol singers and the giant tree given annually by the Norwegian government. The courtyard at Somerset House always looks amazing, especially from the ice. I have skated there several times dressed rather like Henry Raeburn’s skating minister, in a Katharine Hamnett frock-coat and a Vivienne Westwood John Bull hat.
 
REAL TREE OR FAKE?
Very much real, with a fine collection of blown glass baubles (find similar at www.malcolm-sutcliffe.co.uk, from £12) and a giant light-up shooting star hung on the wall behind it.
 

BEST CHRISTMAS SHOPPING
I always order a whole Serrano ham from Garcia in Portobello Road and a few crates of red wine, Castello di Potentino Sacromonte, which I get from www.vineyardsdirect.com.
 
GIFT? GIVE ME THIS
I’d be happy with anything from one of the antiquities shops in Great Russell Street near the British Museum.
 
MY HOME STYLE
I live in South Kensington in a beautiful corner flat on the first floor of a Victorian house. Its high ceilings, floor-length windows and wraparound balcony make it feel much grander than it is. The flat is being renovated right now. The colours are typically Florentine — stone grey skirtings and window frames, dirty white on the walls and sky blue on the ceiling.
 
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Mayfair's finest: Dover Street Market
 
MY DEFINITION OF LUXURY
Something beautiful, handmade, unique — and not necessarily something advertised as a luxury. It would be a luxury to own an ancient Greek torso, or have my own vineyard, or to drive an Aston Martin for which I had designed the interior.
 
BEST DESIGN SHOP
Dover Street Market in Mayfair. When I was last there, a friend bought a super-fancy Tyrolean hat for me made from rabbit felt. Top stuff.

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