Last month in New York, while a huge snowstorm hit the city, I took refuge inside the stunning new United States premises of one of my favorite London design galleries, Carpenters Workshop.
Located on the top two floors of an impressive building on Fifth Avenue, (its entrance refurbished by star architect David Chipperfield while he designed the nearby Valentino store), the light-filled gallery floors enjoy an impressive view and provide a perfect intimate setting to showcase the works of the stellar international rostrum of artists and designers they represent.
This month, a much-anticipated exhibition of new pieces by Italian architect turned furniture designer Vincenzo de Cotiis, titled “Archeo Black,” takes center stage until Saturday, April 22, and it’s not to be missed.
I first encountered the work of de Cotiis at the annual Design Miami Fair a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love with his sophisticated and, at times, unsettling raw use of different natural materials. Taking advantage of both re-purposed and new materials, he creates objects like tables, consoles, stools, and benches that transcend the functionality and leap into the sculptural sublime.
De Cotiis often refers to his inspiration from African and tribal art as a way to suggest enigmatic primitivisms that make his work so contemporary. Crafted by hand, the effect of the contrasting weighted volumes is almost pictorial. Imperceptible hues of greys, painted glass inserts, ceramic accents, reclaimed textures, resins, and ebony stones express an art that merges gesture and life.
The top floor of the gallery, with its impressively large Art Deco-style window, serves as a place to present and curate works in a more domestic setting. Here, a bold Rick Owens-designed dining table might be paired with perfectly restored vintage teak chairs that Le Corbusier commissioned his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, for his utopian government compound in the Indian city of Chandigarh in the ’50s.
If you are fortunate enough, private dinners are regularly hosted here, and you can imagine yourself living with such wonders when contemporary art overcomes its traditional bi-dimensional constrictions and turns into an all-around living and livable form.
Discerning and glamorous clients from Texas have already been spotted here, with Dallas collector Cindy Rachofsky and uber-chic interior designer Emily Summers, as always, leading the way.