KARL LAGERFELD’S ANTIQUE CHIC
A recognized connoisseur of the decorative arts, superstar couturier Karl Lagerfeld is now unveiling a new facet of his over flowing talent with a sculptural furniture collection, co-produced with the Paris branch of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, that takes inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome.
Few who were present will forget the major 1991 Sotheby’s auction in Monaco, which revealed to the world the impressive collection of Memphis pieces that Karl Lagerfeld had gathered about him in his Monte- Carlo home. He’s moved house several times since then, and amassed, over the years, a large collection of famous designers, from Süe and Mare to Marc Newson, not forgetting his pronounced penchant for the 18th century. Indeed his exper tise in the decorative ar ts is a secret to absolutely no one, so it comes as little surprise to see that, in partnership with the Paris branch of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the renowned couturier has finally launched his very own collection of luxury furniture, which was unveiled to the public this autumn.
There are 11 pieces in all – pedestal and dining tables, lamps, looking glasses, etc. – or rather 11 “Architectures,” since that’s what he’s decided to call these new products of his overflowing imagination. The designation is just right, since instead of legs they feature marble columns holding them up, which, a bit like a sophisticated set of child’s building blocks, superimpose different types of fluting (carved into the surface of the stone) to achieve a very graphic result. The collection is a highly personal take on ancient Greece, adapting it for our era, a position Lagerfeld explains by saying, “Everything ends up being dated except that. That’s the beauty of standards. Nothing is more modern than antiquity.” Architect Aline Asmar d’Amman, who oversaw the development of the collection, points out the harmony of its lines, which conform to the classic canons of beauty: “These perfect proportions are all in Karl’s drawings… A centimetre more or a centimetre less would totally change the look of these pieces.”
While Asmar d’Amman had already worked with the couturier on two suites at the Hôtel de Crillon, it was the first collaboration with him for Loïc Le Gaillard and Julien Lombrai l, the founders of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery. “Karl was a client of ours to start with, and then one day he came and proposed this project,” recalls Lombrail. “For us it was a true exercice de style, and we liked the idea of a perfect piece. The fact that we also oversaw production meant we could take into account certain practical essentials such as durability and logistics, while still making ambitious design. The marble was shaped by Italian craftsmen in Vicenza, and they lightened the pieces by using a honeycomb structure which ensures solidity while keeping weight under 500 kg.” The material nonetheless remains imposing, with two types of marble having been used, black NeroMarqu in aandw hi te Arabescato, which has become extremely rare since the closure of the Tuscan quarries. Black and white… Lagerfeld remains faithful to his vision, leaving his mark on our times with ever greater reach – even if this collection is a limited edition ( of course!), a series of just eight as well as four artist’s proofs. Karl Lagerfeld, Architectures, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, till 22 December.