Get inside Fiona Leahy’s head while setting a delightful dinner table with her favorite Maison Numen pieces, in her London home.
How did you get involved with Maison Numen and what drew you to the brand?
I’ve known Jessica Macias for years and was very excited when I heard from her about Maison Numen – it’s such a wonderful concept! I firmly believe that what Maison Numen brings to the world is a much needed antidote to contemporary consumerist culture: to be able to fill your home with carefully curated, lovingly crafted pieces from artisans around the world is very important, and rekindles a relationship between people and their possessions. When the opportunity arose I was excited to collaborate.
I wanted to create an intimate ambience with a warming and comforting feel – the perfect winter setting. As such I looked for pieces that would bring life, color and cosiness to a room – natural materials, organic patterns, vibrant colors. I’ve also always been drawn to green – it’s calming, infuses life into a room and always has a place in my home! Perhaps it’s down to being Irish, but a well crafted piece in a gorgeous green gives me a ‘visual sigh’ of happiness. The pieces I selected were driven by this personal preference and desire for homeliness.
Do you have a favorite piece from the ones you chose and why?
Time and again, I’m drawn to the Tamgroute Candlesticks. I’m a big fan of candles – they transform a space, create an unparalleled level of intimacy… And everything tastes better in candlelight! The unique, rough and organic forms of the pieces and the earthy, vibrant green hue of the glaze instantly captivated me and have kept them in my mind ever since!
What kind of menu and cocktails do you see working well with this tabletop curation?
Great question! I would go for something bright, lively and tasty to match the setting: lots of colors, lots of flavor – think Ottolenghi on acid. A tasty red berry leaf salad would work marvellously on the Bordallo Pinheiro Charger Plates, especially with some zingy feta thrown in, whilst a delicately grilled salmon with pomegranate seeds would make a marvellous main. I’d love to serve a crisp Italian white with the meal and maybe some earthy, warming whisky for after – simplicity is perfection in winter dining!
Are there any colors, materials or shapes you find particularly enticing for a dinner table versus a lunch or breakfast?
Everything, when done right, have a place at my table – though green has pride of place! I believe that any setting can work with any meal, as long as the energy is good and the host is comfortable and relaxed. I tend to favor simpler settings for lunch though, and am personally a lover of breakfast in bed – I have the Florentine Tray is earmarked for just that!
Tell us about some of the pieces you have chosen that are not traditionally something one would expect to see as a table setting.
The perfume bottles come to mind – I adore these, their simple glass and intricate silver detailing work so well together. I’ve worked a lot in the Middle East, where a perfume course is not uncommon during dinner. I love this idea – making the meal a fully rounded sensory experience – and it’s great if you don’t want to eat too much! I was informed by this experience when selecting the perfume bottles and, as soon as I saw them, I knew they’d be a wonderful alternative to classic name place cards. It’s always nice to creatively repurpose something, and this way your guests have something beautiful to take home and remember the meal with!
What are some of the ways you would use these pieces when they aren’t part of a table setting?
I’ve already used the Tamgroute Bowls for fruit – I had some delicious cherries in there the day of the shoot. The Perfume Bottles would live in my bathroom – they’re such gorgeous pieces and would work so well in that intimate setting. The Florentine Tray would be my go-to for breakfast in bed, and would also be a wonderful table runner: I’d load it with a selection of tea lights, including the Bon one, and keep it there on my dining table. I’d love to hang some Safi Platters on my kitchen wall – they’re so gorgeously painted – and would have the Tamgroute Candles around the house, brining candlelit joy to my life!