Launches and Openings

The Arts Club officially reveals new members’ lounge – Ofelia marking the beginning of a transformational new era in Mayfair

  • March 2023

The Arts Club

Mayfair’s iconic landmark, The Arts Club, reveals its newly refurbished members’ lounge, renamed ‘Ofelia’, reflecting both the Club’s 160-year heritage and its place at the beating heart of London’s cultural scene since it was founded in 1863.  The reveal of Ofelia Member’s Lounge marks the completion of a series of important interior renovations throughout major areas of the Club under the direction of Principle Shareholder, Jai Waney.  Almost 50% of the club has been re-designed in the last twelve months including the ground floor Brasserie, Bar and Condo Salon – lead by Jai and following his creative vision – to deliberately enhance members’ day to night experience, making the club the desirable choice for those who want the very best from a private members’ club.

Situated on the first floor of the Mayfair townhouse, the members’ lounge is an entirely reimagined space full of exquisite Italian sensibility and thoughtful areas, comprising a newly designed bar, seating areas, conservatory, Drawing Room, and Ante Room. 

In a nod to members past, the name of the lounge is inspired by famous alumni, Sir John Everett Millais and his portrait of muse Elizabeth Siddal as Ophelia, – re-born today as her contemporary Italian ‘sister’, Ofelia. 

Ofelia Members’ Lounge now complements other areas of the club that have also been transformed by Italian interior designer, Giuseppe Porcelli, including the Brasserie, Bar and Condo Salon, so that the club reflects modern lifestyles, underpinned with the elegance of timeless glamour.

Transformative Interiors

Italian architect and designer Giuseppe Porcelli has honoured Jai’s creative vision and how it brings to life the club’s 160-year history with truly timeless style and intricate craftsmanship. Ofelia evokes a sense of nostalgia and escapism, blending intimate spaces alongside convivial salon seating.

Journeying through the entirely reimagined first floor at 40 Dover Street (physically home to the club since 1896), the interior design combines architectural elements of Italian classical facades, like pillars and freezes, and the 1940s entryways of Milan, to more intimate and colloquial touches of Italian bourgeois family homes, visible in the layering of different objets d’art and furniture. The recessed ceilings, enriched with fabric and wallpaper and framed with mahogany contours, add height and grandeur, reminiscent of lounges in classic yachts.  Inlays of handmade graniglia tiles from Tuscany, known for their timeless craftsmanship, decorate the floors with a striking floral motive from the 1930s that inspires the choice of furniture fabrics and ensembles.

A Grand Tour of Italian taste and finery, Porcelli keeps tradition alive with the generous use of antique mirrors, patterns, sumptuous velvet seating and root-wood furniture while adding colour and texture with Breccia Medicea marble and oxidized brass-finished tables. The influence of new world travel and wider European culture is also at play with the use of rugs, curtains, antique pieces and sofas displaying ethnic and elaborate prints.  

Guiseppe Porcelli comments, “I want people to feel as though this space has always been here. A home-from-home for members, and a showcase of how craftsmanship and traditions, especially when it comes to Italian style, are relevant and glamorous for the modern era.  Ofelia surprises time and time again. It’s elegant for the day and sparkling for the night.”

First Floor Details – Ofelia is located on the first floor of the townhouse building at Dover Street, Mayfair, offering dining options that seamlessly transition from day-to-night, of Italian dishes with a fresh contemporary twist, light cicchetti and sumptuous desserts curated by Head Chef, Stefano Mazzonzeilli. Beautifully created seasonal cocktails, as well as a full menu of classics are available at the bar and the perfect accompaniment to Ofelia’s music programming making the space a high energy lounge at night. An eclectic mix of DJs and live bands entertain Tuesday to Saturday until 1am, and until 2am on Thursdays The Drawing Room provides an intimate canvas for the club’s latest temporary exhibitions and some of its artwork collection and the space serves as a contemporary salon for socialising, creative workshops, fashion shows, presentations and more.

The Ground Floor Evolution

During the past year, under the stewardship of Jai Waney, Giuseppe has transformed the interiors of the Condo Salon and Bar leading into the Brasserie and beyond to the garden, capturing a sense of escapism with the use of layered objets, artisanal detailing, vintage pieces and chinoiserie-inspired elements. Whilst Ofelia reflects a European sensibility, the ground floor embodies classical English taste with a particular nod to the Victorian era, where incredible artworks are cocooned by textured fabrics, rich colours and elaborate patterns. 

As well as introducing the new members’ lounge, The Arts Club elevates its cultural events programme this year to focus on enriching experiences notably within the arts, while appealing to the requirements of today’s transformative culture. This month the Club opens two new solo exhibitions in its first floor Drawing Room and Ante Room – fabulous UK debut shows for both artists. Emerging artist Sarah Buckner’s paintings were made specifically in response to the club’s space, evocative works hinting at narratives yet charged with mystery. 99-year-old artist Wassef Boutros-Ghali’s works are defined by dazzling abstract compositions that draw viewers in with bold structures and vivid colour – a master of modernism.

Both exhibitions will run from 22nd February to 7th May 2023 in the Drawing Room and Ante Room, the beautifully reimagined spaces launched as part of the club’s 160th anniversary.