Enjoy our Q & A with the enigmatic Beatrice Saint Laurent of Galerie BSL, Paris:
What is your philosophy?
Wonder is the keyword to me: I want to be surprised, amazed, enchanted – and why not disturbed! This is the reason why the artists and designers that I work with each have a unique, strong and intriguing creative universe. Often the viewer wonders about the objects, about what they are made of, about how they are made as well. Design Art is questioning and involves a dialogue which is part of what makes its wealth and innovative quality.
The works shown by the gallery have to instill the unexpected into the heart of the functional. Carol Egan’s work is a very good example of this. Her minimalistic design baffles reason by twisting wood up to 180 degrees. The viewer is amazed by what appears to be the impossible, a 90 or 180 degree twist contortion of a wooden plank. What seems to be a miraculous bending technique is in fact obtained by the ancient art of wood-carving.
Sculptural hand-carved walnut 180° wall ‘Twist’ console, 2012 by Carol Egan
Another example is Nacho Carbonell’s work, which I first discovered at Design Miami/Basel in 2009, the year he was named ‘Designer of the Future’ in Basel. I was struck at once by the way he experimented with shapes and textures to produce unique, handmade creations that are actually more creatures than mere pieces of furniture. Since 2011 Galerie BSL has developed two collections with him, ‘Luciferase’ and ‘Time Is A Treasure’, that testify to his strong narrative and visual language which is always recognizable in his work. This is to me the mark of true, unique artistic talent.
Luciferase VI light 2015 by Nacho Carbonell. Epoxy resin, colored pigment, sand, silicone, steel structure, LEDs. Unique piece.
What trends do you see in contemporary design in France at the moment?
I would say one of the main tendencies is a revival of the Memphis style, with designers working in the line of Ettore Sottsass and Michele de Lucchi, with a love for colors, graphic lines, and liveliness! Among the designers working with us, Charles Kalpakian represents this tendency very well. His ‘MOON’ armchairs are contemporary, while having a vintage twist. Their unusual high back and width make them particularly comfortable. While being a reinterpretation of some classics from the 50’s, they also refer to the Memphis’ 80’s with their soft, graphic and flexible lines, as well as their color combinations. Charles Kalpakian’s ‘Cinétisme’ wall cabinets which we presented at PAD London last October are also unexpected, and immediately eye-catching in the true sense of the word.
Carlton bookcase (above), 1981, by Ettore Sottsass. Image courtesy of Dezeen
Kineticism III Wall cabinet in lacquered wood with mirrors, 2015, by Charles Kalpakian
Do you have a favorite piece that you could share with us?
‘Calligraphie III’ is Taher Chemirik’s last screen, and the first to mix steel and brass. It will be shown on March 9-12, 2016 at Design Shangai, in the ‘Collectibles Section’ curated by Jérôme Sans. Taher Chemirik was a renowned jewelry artist when we decided to work together and I was a total fan of his jewelry signature designs. To me, he is a poet of the object – whatever the scale may be. I proposed him to develop together his idea of « Bijoux d’Intérieur » – ‘Interior Treasures’ : pieces like jewelry for the home, possibly of large dimensions, involving materials that defy time and in line with the tradition of the decorative arts such as brass, wood, and rare hard stones. The first pieces were exhibited at Design Miami in 2012. The challenge with most of these pieces lies in their dimensions. His ‘Calligraphy’ III screen for instance is 450 wide and 230 high and unwinds like a swirl of flat bands in a magical structure defying gravity. One of these screens has entered the Museum of Arts and Design permanent collection in NY.
Calligraphe III screen in brass and steel, 2015, by Taher Chemirik
Look out for Galerie BSL at PAD Paris Fair 2016 at the end of this month (31 March-3 April)
All images courtesy of Galerie BSL, unless otherwise stated.
BSL Galerie, 10 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
Sneak preview of PAD Paris Fair 2016
This year is the 20th anniversary of PAD Paris which takes place in the beautiful setting of the Jardins des Tuileries. There will be 55 galleries participating, the majority of which are French with a small number of international exhibitors from the UK, Europe and the States. Its a jewel of a Fair and one we always look forward to. Here are a few images of what you’ll be seeing this year.
‘Toute Suite’ from The French Series by Glithero, 2015. Photo courtesy of Fumi Gallery, London.
French curved bureau in chromed metal and Saint Gobain glass, 1935-37. Photo courtesy of Galerie Jacques Lacoste, Paris
Refectory table, c 1939 by Jean Prouve. Image courtesy of Downtown Gallery, Paris
Danish black leather and stained mahogany low wingback armchair, c 1935, by Frits Henningsen. Image courtesy of Rose Uniacke, London
‘Pantographe’ hexagonal table lamp in brass, 1972 by Yonel Lebovici. Image courtesy of Galerie Chastel-Marechal, Paris
Pair of Danish rosewood and leather armchairs and footstool, 1956 by Kofoed Larsen for Christensen & Larsen. Image courtesy of Modernity Gallery, Stockholm
Signed and numbered ‘Rainbow’ handwoven carpet designed by street artist JonOne. Manufactured by Boccara. Image courtesy of Boccara, Paris
Contact us for a complimentary (entrance ticket not included) private guided tour of PAD Paris Fair, 31 March-3 April 2016. Numbers are limited but there still are a few spots left. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Inquiries : firstname.lastname@example.org