Three New York Galleries Find New Spaces
CARPENTERS WORKSHOP GALLERY has opened its first U.S. location on the light-filled penthouse floors of the former Takashimaya Building in midtown Manhattan, providing an ideal setting for the London- and Paris-based gallery to showcase its roster of avant-garde designers—including Maarten Baas, Studio Job, and Ingrid Donat—to an American audience. In keeping with the structure of its other galleries, the new location has dedicated one floor to a rotating program of exhibitions and the second floor to a by-appointment-only “salon-style space,” featuring a variety of lighting, objects, and furniture from different designers. “In each gallery we have an exhibition space and then have a more residential floor to show the pieces in context,” explains co-founder Loic Le Gaillard in an email.
While most galleries have flocked to design districts in SoHo, TriBeCa, and Chelsea, Le Gaillard and co-founder Julien Lombrail have bucked the trend, choosing the elegant John Burgee and Philip Johnson-designed building that was previously home to the revered Japanese department store Takashimaya and underwent a renovation on the lower levels by David Chipperfield in 2014. Before Carpenters Workshop moved in, financier Steven Greenberg occupied the nineteenth and twentieth penthouse floors, where he held much of his extensive art deco collection. Le Gaillard and Lombrail tapped architect Markus Dochantschi of studioMDA, a seasoned designer of cultural venues and galleries, to revamp the space by exploiting the thirty-five-foot-high ceilings and ample natural light.
“For us, we have always seen the former Takashimaya Building as a very iconic building, at the heart of Fifth Avenue. It was important to set ourselves apart while also bridging the gap between downtown and uptown, where most of our clients are,” Gaillard says. “Unconventional and exceptional, the New York gallery is in essence in line with our London and Paris spaces—complementing our identity.”
The new location will serve as a hub for Gaillard and Lombrail to expand their presence in the U.S. while continuing to do what they do best: curating and presenting a gripping program of contemporary work by the vanguard of design from America and abroad. “The goal is to expose the American market to our artists and works which they may have no prior knowledge of. The focus is slightly more on American designers, like the upcoming Vladimir Kagan show, while also bringing the flavor of Europe to New York with Italian, Dutch, and French designers.”
It is indeed an apt stage for Carpenters Workshop’s heterogeneous mix of emerging and established designers— whose pieces, awash in light, have plenty of breathing room, and in a few instances can even soar in space as seen on the second floor salon, where Studio Drift’s Flylight lighting fixture hangs ethereally in a swirling murmuration-like form from the ceiling. carpentersworkshopgallery.com —Nicole Anderson