At the beginning, she was searching for vintage items from abroad for her family and friends. Today, she is the head of her own design studio.
Antiques and vintage items from 1930s up to 1970s has become a matter of heart for Vlaďa Ilavská. After she left corporate world, her full time job and the biggest passion at the same time has become searching for unique antique items at markets in Italy, Hungary or France and giving them new life. This passion has outgrown into the establishment of her own design studio Lavish which she runs in the centre of Bratislava city. She picks all vintage furniture and items personally and sensitively.
If not now, then never
She was working for the one of the biggest courier service companies in the world but after she left for maternity leave she came to conclusion that if she does not transform her biggest passion into her full time job now then she will never do it. “I will come back to work and spend there 8 hours every day. I will not have a chance to start such a business beside the family life.” recalls her beginnings Vlaďa Ilavská. Thanks to the support of her husband and parents she was able to start the design concept of Lavish studio.
They believed her abilities to lead her own studio with vintage furniture partly because Vlaďa had been searching for the extraordinary pieces from abroad for her friends and family long before the concept of Lavish studio became a reality.
“I was visiting stock-markets and trade fairs in Slovakia and Czech Republic. When we were furnishing our flat I have always wanted something special, something that looks differently than what you can see at our grandparents´ or in the shops with furniture. So I have decided to have a look also in other countries like Italy or Hungary. The furniture that I found there beautified not only our flat but also houses of some of our friends.” says businesswoman who got an idea that it would be great to bring unique and precious furniture items to Slovakia and make them available for the public.
She was looking for the gap in the market
Today, the particular pieces of furniture brought from abroad have their own place in the Vlaďa´s Lavish studio in Bratislava where the visitors can have a look at them. But to find the good furniture suppliers was a bit hard at the beginning. First contacts were often made by coincidence. “We were at holidays in Italy and I visited vintage market in the near city. I have come across very handy people who have been renovating antique furniture for years. What´s more, one of my Italian suppliers inherited the business after her grandfather who was upholstering furniture in 1919 already.” says Vlaďa.
Afterwards, she visited the antique trade fair with the aim to see the offer and also the particular suppliers. “I needed someone who would guarantee the quality work including the upholstery. I choose the fabrics and materials myself but I often bring the ready-made furniture items to Slovakia with the help of my husband or they are delivered by courier service from other countries,” she adds.
At the beginning, she mainly focused on delivery of things that were according to her taste. Since she prefers the style of Art Deco from 1930s, her first investments were the items from this period of time. Later she started to realise what is the taste of her customers and she has adapted the space of her studio in such way that everyone can find what he/she likes – either Bauhaus or Modern from the 1st half of the 20th century or retro style.
“I often work also on demand. If the customer does not find what he/she is looking for – I will find it for him/her according to the ordered criteria. It is even better if the clients are willing to let me see their home. I can feel the atmosphere, see the concept and the area of the flat or house.” she says.
There are one of a kind items
You can find also few pieces of Slovak origins in the Lavish studio but most of the furniture come from abroad. Since we are talking about real antiques and vintage furniture, sometimes it is not possible to satisfy all orders and you should count with the fact that some of the pieces can have so called patina. “That adds the spirit and the style to the furniture” explains Vlaďa and continues that the most of similar concepts are focusing on the sale of the Czech and Slovak items or on the production of the copies of retro pieces for big buyers.
Vlaďa Ilavská considers her uniqueness as an advantage. Despite of the fact that nowadays her only help in the studio is her husband, she enjoys very much the feeling that her passion has become her full time job.
“I believe that because of the satisfied customers will be Lavish studio´s uniqueness recognised more and more, “she adds at the end.
Text: Eva Frantová Foto: Ivan Kováč