Our Q & A with the resolutely contemporary design gallery Gosserez in Paris

'Block' low table by Valentin Loellmann
Low table from the ‘Block’ Collection by Valentin Loellmann
 Also available as a dining table. Piece unique. Lacquered bronze base, carbonized and waxed table top.
Can you tell us a little about what led you towards establishing your own contemporary design gallery in Paris?
Galerie Gosserez, which I opened in June 2010, is the result of my personal journey within  the milieu of art. Initially I was a dealer specializing in furniture and 1950/70s French ceramics,  before becoming an auctioneer at Drouot. Through these varied experiences I realized that, despite the fact that there were designers working with real talent and savoir-faire, their new work wasn’t being presented to the public.  So, rather than dealing with vintage and re-edition works, I decided to gather together these talented designers and artisans and create a gallery space where they could freely express themselves and experiment with new design ideas. For example, with the exhibition ‘L’étreinte’, the designer Elise Gabriel worked with Zelfo, a cellulose fibre-based material which is extremely complicated to manipulate as it risks cracking when it dries. it took several attempts and experimentation before she mastered the material.  That is the role of the gallery: to accompany and support the designers in their research and experimentation in each project so that together we create work that is extraordinary and brings something truly new into existence. Then it is up to me to present these new works and to explain and support them….and that is what the gallery’s clients are looking for.  
Liga chair by Elise Gabriel
‘Liga’ chair by Elise Gabriel. Beechwood and tinted Zelfo.
Limited edition of 20.
You edit and produce your own exclusive collection of signed and numbered pieces by young designers, as well as other contemporary works from the year 2000 onwards. What is your criteria when choosing a designer to work with?
Choosing designers with whom I will collaborate is passionate work – but extremely difficult. There are so many designers and works presented to us, and the role of a gallery is to have and develop an ‘eye’ and to try and find the rare pearl to present to our clientèle who are more and more demanding in view of the amount of work there is out there. That is what clients expect of me: I sometimes feel like I am on a treasure hunt! Clients often ask me ‘What is the next exhibition or the new designer you’ll be showing’ with a passionate curiosity…..Its this ‘Quest for the Holy Grail’ that impassions me. I am always on the lookout through magazines, blogs, fairs, end of year school projects and projects sent to me….you need to keep an eye on everything!
 Fall-Winter Collection guéridon by Valentin Loellmann

Guéridons from the Fall/Winter Collection by Valentin Loellmann. Base in hazelnut wood with top in oak covered in a mixture of sawdust and resin, the structure is then burnt, waxed and treated with oil.
Each pièce is handmade by the designer and signed, dated and numbered. 
The market for contemporary design has developed hugely in the last few years. How do you see it moving in the next few years?
I think it is a market which will become increasingly international. We are seeing more and more interest in the work of designers in countries such as Brazil and Chili, but also from the Middle East where French elegance and savoir-faire are deeply appreciated and sought-after.
What tendencies do you see in contemporary design in France at the moment?
We are now seeing a formal simplicity allied to technical sophistication. The emergence of new technologies (the development of LEDs, rapid prototypage, laser etc) is opening up design to totally new possibilities. There is also a growing interest in the materials themselves and the re-appropriation of their initial functions. For example, for the Taffelstukken lamps by Dutch designer Daphna Laurens, the porcelain is used to create the lampshade rather than its traditional function as a material for a dish! So, the importance of the material lies essentially in its natural state: earth, wood, stone, beeswax….and a formal approach which is often organic. In the gallery, in his Fall-Winter collection,  German designer Valentin Loellman works with oak and hazel tree wood in a way that emphasizes the sensuality of the wood, using a formal language which is close to nature. Equally, the designers we work with explore the contrasts between materials: glass and marble, cement and paper…alliances which appear irreconcilable but which in reality function beautifully. Another trend I am seeing is the exploration of functional qualities where a work can have several functions. For example, is the ‘Tour Miroir’ by Eric Jourdan predominantly a storage piece or a free-standing mirror? And is the ‘Cahute lamp’ by Piergli Fourquié a table or a lamp? I observe this tendency equally with pieces which straddle the boundaries between design and art. Are the ‘lamps’ by Os & Oos works of sculpture or lamps?
Occultation light by Os & Oos
 ‘Occultation’ light by Os & Oos. Cement, leds, polarized glass and metal.

Limited edition of 36 + 2 épreuves d’Artistes = 1 Prototype
You took part in the Collective Design Fair in New York this May. What was your impression of the Fair and the international clientele who attended? And PAD Paris and PAD London?
I personally think that there are too many international fairs. Clients, both decorators and collectors are seriously sought after and I fear that some fairs simply won’t survive. Having said that, Collective Design Fair in New York is really interesting with many decorators and interior architects among the visitors. PAD Paris and PAD London attract more collectors so these fairs are very complementary.
All images courtesy of Galerie Gosserez.
Galerie Gosserez, 9 rue Debellyme, 75003 Paris.
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