Tanja's Culture


Nic Roldan on Polo, Art and Interior Design

Polo star Nic Roldan gives us his take on the sport, art and what he's been up to.

Since we featured you as one the season’s top three players to watch, you’ve gone on to have a pretty awesome season. With the upcoming East Coast Open coming up in Greenwich, what should we be expecting from you and the match?

Yes, that came out in May at the end of a great season in Palm Beach during which I added a few cups to my trophy cabinet, the highlight of which was the Herbie Pennell Cup (20 goal) back in January.  Then I went to the UK, which was tough.

It’s hard to get established in a new country and create an organization but I’m very keen to put my name on the two top cups there so I’m determined to make it work.  We still won one trophy and another highlight was playing with the Duke of Cambridge in order to raise funds for two of his charities: The Tusk Trust and The Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund.  I then made a brief pit stop at New York Fashion Week Men’s to catch the Michael Bastian show amongst others before heading to Aspen where I’ve spent the last few weeks playing at Aspen Valley Polo Club and enjoying all that Aspen has to offer.

Indeed from the 23rd of August the USPA East Coast Open starts at Greenwich Polo Club. This will be the Grand Finale to the summer polo season and I’m playing as part of the Audi Polo Team.  The last time I won that Cup was in 2010 with the Tupungato team.  So for sure I’m looking forward to adding my name once more to it.  Since I’m part of a great team it should be fun and puts us in great stead.  We’ve already been practicing here in Aspen.

It’s a great event and especially given [Greenwich’s] proximity to NYC I very much hope people will grasp the opportunity to see the best level of polo that is being played at this time of the year in the country so close to their doorstep.  For me it’s really important to increase awareness and participation for the sport at all levels and this is a great event to showcase that. 

You recently bought a new home in Wellington and designed it. We love how it came out! What were some of your inspirations? What were you going for?

Thanks! It was a lot of fun to do but also not the first time I’ve done this as my mother is an interior designer and we often work on projects together.  Aside of that two of my friends and I formed a new company, Bedford Park International, where we create Equestrian Development projects.  It’s an area I really enjoy and it’s always very much been a part of my life as it’s something my parents also very much enjoy.

My mother and I love to bounce design ideas off each other. Her designs and style are very unique and definitely inspired by her upbringing in Europe and by her travels.  She loves to integrate old antiques into her designs. My style has been a mix of contemporary and modern.  We try to combine both styles together in addition to my house being a lofty masculine look and feel. 

I love thinking outside of the box, doing things a little different and original.  I get a lot of inspiration from my travels. Thanks to my polo career I’m always travelling all over and am privileged to visit some pretty amazing places so I pick up lots of ideas from that. I also really enjoy visiting different art museums and galleries. Recently in Aspen I visited the Aspen Art Museum and whilst in the UK my family and I visited the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, as well as all our regular favorites back in London.

You also have quite a collection of art – a mix of contemporary and more traditional. Who and what do you most enjoy collecting?

As I said it’s an area that continuously inspires me, so I often try to pick things up whilst I’m travelling. For instance I picked up some great pieces whilst I was visiting family in Berlin, which is a great cultural city especially for contemporary art.  Then I have several friends who are artists, which not only inspires me, but sometimes it means I can directly acquire some of their works.  Each piece has a special story and unique memory attached to it, which all adds to their meanings.

Do you find any connections between polo, interior design and art?

Well way back the original polo ponies were used to transport silk along the Silk Route so the inspiration through traveling is a connection straight off the bat.  However, for me personally of course, to be the best in anything, you have to be perfect in detail.  In everything I have to be always conscious of each minute detail I can work on to improve.  All the small things add up in the end to make me the best polo player I can be. 

That mindset does not end on the field but is also reflected in the way I live and in my other projects. Plus I like to always be busy. In our Equestrian Development of course it helps having my own practical experience so I know which details to be aware of.  Luxury, high quality, practical and originality are all topics that intertwine with all three areas, not to mention creativity.  It’s a great mix of challenges I thoroughly enjoy. 






Photo credits: Juan Lamarca (juanlamarca.com), Dominic James (www.dominic-james.com), Alex Pacheco (7chukkerpolo.com), George Kamper (georgekamper.com), Melodie Jeng (twitter.com/melodiejeng) and Ian MacLean

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