Francis Sultana

Celebration of worlds with interior designer Francis Sultana

Sultana’s inspirations span the space between his Maltese heritage, 1920s Paris, and current dream projects in Hong Kong and New York City where it’s all about the height.

Design & Architecture

Sultana’s inspirations span the space between his Maltese heritage, 1920s Paris, and current dream projects in Hong Kong and New York City where it’s all about the height.

Inspiration from Malta, my homeland…

Malta was my foundation in my inspirations even when I looked elsewhere, both globally and historically. I still find my inspirations take me back to Malta, the Rock. There is so much to inspire me there––the architecture, the climate, Malta’s unique geography and coastline, and of course the island’s incredible history and resilience.


My musical muses…

Music helps my mood, and where I want to go creatively. As I write, I am listening to George Michael. Madonna was a favourite in my youth, yet I also love the emotional journey in the operas of Bellini and the music of Satie.

Designers that have made the biggest difference to my aesthetic…

It was the early 20th-century designers like J.M Frank, Ruhlmann and Rateau who were the most significant influences. I became inspired by the way they combined their roles as spatial, interior and furniture designer – they created the entire mood and aesthetic in every space they worked within and also showed a love of materials which is also very central to my work.

Francis Sultana Narmina daybed

My dream project these days…

It’s all about height for me at the moment! I am working on a very special home, high up in Hong Kong which is spectacular. I am also working on a project overlooking the city skyline in New York – both are very different, yet allow me to play with amazing views and wonderful light on either side of the world.

Paris of the 1920s …

I dream of this time, the way society operated in that lifetime between the two wars and the sense of modernism that helped my aesthetic. It was such an amazing moment in history creatively and in terms of style.

Hurricane Lamps

Searching for artisans to craft my creations…

Most of the artisans I work with come from the UK, Italy and France. Now that I am working in China, I hope that I might find some amazing crafts and techniques over there as well.

Coco Chanel, José Marîa Sert and the extravagant Indian Maharajas…

These are all the influences that inspired my latest collection of furniture called Narmina. All three, to me, embody the root that is art deco. For me, it is my favourite period of decoration and the most inspired by nature.

Francis Sultana Narmina - Coco side table

An item on my bucket list…

To go camping in the depths of Kenya looking at the wildlife and being inspired by nature.

My favourite city…

I have two – London, and Valletta, I love them both and they just make me happy. First of all, I have friends there, but also the architecture and the lifestyle that both offer – while very different parts of me are equally important. In London, I have my business, but in Malta, I have just been invited to be an Ambassador of Culture which is such an incredible honour and I am delighted that we will be starting work on a new cultural space called MICAS in Valletta which will open in 2021. There will be a wonderful gala weekend in October 12-13 to celebrate the launch with lots of exhibitions and panel discussions.

Palazzo Valletta

My top 5 favourite hotels…

Claridges, London – just chic, Carlyle, NYC – my NYC home, Cipriani, Venice – because I love the romance, Costes, Paris – my Paris home, San Pietro, Positano – for la dolce vita.

Francis Sultana

Hidden gems in my home cities…

In London, my recommendations include the Serpentine, V&A, Design Museum and of course David Gill Gallery of which I am Artistic Director. My favourite restaurant during the week is probably Sake no Hana and my favourite of the members’ clubs is 5 Hertford Street.

In Valletta, I would recommend St Johns Co Cathedral, Upper Barrakka Gardens and the fabulous Il Kantra restaurant overlooking the sea on Gozo. ◼

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© This article was first published in Aug-Sept 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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