After 15 years of living abroad, Otomys Contemporary UK Director Nikki Finch and her family recently relocated to the UK and home has now become the beautiful Georgian city of Bath. Set in the rolling countryside of the South Western county of Somerset, Bath is a town best known for its natural Roman-era hot springs, 18th-century Georgian architecture home to famed 18th century writer Jane Austen.
Independent, creative, unique and classed as a designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, tourists flock to Bath all year-round. Many come to experience the infamous Baths and breathtaking 7th century gothic Abbey which are built from Bath’s remarkable honey-coloured stone. This is the stone that founded Bath’s trademark architecture and continues to deliver a sense of elegance and history that will forever set Bath apart from its neighbours. After the Abbey, the Royal Crescent and The Circus are top spots for taking in this Georgian architecture and undoubtedly one of the most photographed parts of town!
(Top to bottom: Bath’s Pulteney Bridge and famous Bath stone architecture)
For Nikki though, it was no easy decision to finally depart from her contrasting Asian shores and head towards the UK “As a family, we have always been so stimulated by the buzz and slightly chaotic nature of living in developing countries. However, we knew it was time to settle down for a few years and allow our teenage children the chance to experience a European culture.”
Nikki and her family are loving the change in pace having fun exploring their new surroundings. Nikki’s Bath highlights include:
- Royal Crescent Hotel Spa – one of Bath’s most luxurious hotels. The perfect setting for an afternoon tea.
- The Circus Restaurant – a family owned business serving seasonal, locally sourced British food.
- Colonna & Small’s – the best specialty coffee house in town.
- Anton K Decorative Antiques – Stunning French and Swedish antique furniture and accessories.
Nikki admits that “The surrounding villages and countryside is equally charming. I have become a regular visitor at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset – who have created a wonderfully creative hub for art enthusiasts and guest speakers that bring the community together. The gallery hosts exhibitions by internationally renowned artists so there is always an excuse to come back regularly”
(Top to bottom: Scenes from Hauser & Wirth in Somerset)
Nikki goes on to explain that “My parents were a great influence in my appreciation and love of art. From a young age, we visited art galleries, auction houses and museums. They always liked to change the art on the walls at home, depending on the season.”
Now based close by in Belgium’s Antwerp, Nikki’s parents provide the best excuse (like she needs one!) to jump on the Eurostar on a Friday evening for a long weekend visit. In the culturally rich, ancient city of Antwerp you’re never far from a Rubens’ Flemish Baroque masterpiece in the Belgian artist’s home town. However, most recently Nikki agrees that with his incomparable eye and keen sense of beauty, renowned interior designer Axel Vervoordt has put Antwerp back on the map in a more contemporary way. “In the last 10 years, Antwerp feels like it has evolved into modern city, seamlessly fusing the old with the new. It’s well worth the visit if your Europe bound!”
Nikki’s favourite Antwerp activity? “It has to be browsing through the beautiful homewares and fashion at Graanmarkt 13 . A remarkable concept developed by the owners, Tim and Ilse and described as having ‘a white facade, 3 floors, 14 windows, a balcony and an open door’ it’s a traditional townhouse in the centre of town renovated by Vincent Van Duysen, – one of Antwerp’s best architects.” This exquisite building is divided into a fabulous restaurant, a curated high end design store and luxurious apartments on the top level.
(Top to bottom: Graanmrkt 13’s apartment & a selection of delicacies from the restaurant. Images courtesy of Frederik Vercruysse)
In between exploring her new home in Bath and regular design trips to Antwerp, we asked our UK ambassador Nikki, what she has lined up for Otomys Contemporary – ‘We have so many exciting plans for Otomys Contemporary UK this year! I’m just about to launch our gallery at the Affordable Art Fair in London this month. Along with this, we’re working on expanding our collection to include both some exciting artists AND new art forms -so keep an eye out for features and on our facebook or Instagram.’
‘Finally establishing our UK arm means Otomys Contemporary art will now be accessible to a much wider European audience and I’m so excited to be part of the vibrant London Art Scene and Otomys Contemporary new endeavour. It’s going to be our best (and busiest) year yet!’
Thank you Nikki, for letting us peek into your new design-led lifestyle- we can’t wait to hear and see more soon!